The Atlanta Braves were set to host the 2021 MLB All-Star Game this summer. In response to the new 98-page voting law passed in the state of Georgia, which many have criticized as enacting targeted voter suppression against minorities, Major League Baseball has pulled the game out of the state. The decision has drawn the ire of Republican politicians, including former president Donald Trump.
“Over the last week, we have engaged in thoughtful with Clubs, former and current players, the Players Association, and the Players Alliance, among others, to listen to their views,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred wrote. “I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All Star game and MLB Draft.”
“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box… . Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.”
One former president, Barack Obama, congratulated the MLB for “taking a stand on behalf of voting rights for all citizens,” mentioning Braves legend Hank Aaron in a tweet about the decision. His successor, Donald Trump, has unsurprisingly taken a much different tack.
Barack Obama congratulated the MLB "for taking a stand on behalf of voting rights for all citizens," following the league's announcement. Donald Trump called for a boycott of baseball. https://t.co/Cg7mE6ENRc
— CNN (@CNN) April 3, 2021
“Baseball is already losing tremendous numbers of fans, and now they leave Atlanta with their All-Star Game because they are afraid of the Radical Left Democrats who do not want voter I.D., which is desperately needed, to have anything to do with our elections,” Trump said in a statement put out by an affiliated PAC, per The Hill.
“Boycott baseball and all of the woke companies that are interfering with Free and Fair Elections. Are you listening Coke, Delta, and all!” he added, referencing other companies that have criticized the new law.
The CEO of Delta, which has a major hub in Atlanta, wrote a scathing statement after the voting law was passed, leading to a significant standoff with state lawmakers, including governor Brian Kemp. Other local companies have released statements to workers, including Coca-Cola and Home Depot, but haven’t taken quite as bold a stance yet. This remains a developing situation.
MLB’s decision was one of the first big repercussions that the state has seen, and it will likely cost Cobb County, where the Braves play after moving out of Turner Field in downtown Atlanta in 2016, millions as a result. So far, the MLB hasn’t announced a replacement host for the Midsummer Classic.