Major League Baseball is pulling this year’s All-Star Game out of Atlanta, to “demonstrate our values as a sport” in the wake of Georgia passing a new voting law that critics contend will effectively reduce Black voter turnout.
The annual interleague scrimmage was scheduled to be held Tuesday, July 13 at Truist Park in Atlanta, and air on Fox. A new venue has yet to be announced.
President Joe Biden, who has characterized the new Georgia voting law, passed on March 25, as “Jim Crow on steroids,” told ESPN earlier this week that he would “strongly support” MLB making such a move.
The Georgia voting law, in part, narrows the window to request an absentee ballot (65% of the 2020 presidential election’s absentee votes went to Biden); enacts stricter ID requirements for absentee ballots (which in other states tends to depress voting by people of color); reduces the number of ballot drop boxes as well as limits access (by requiring placement inside government buildings); and bans mobile voting centers (which only help voter turnout in areas like Atlanta).
Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. said in a statement:
“Over the last week, we have engaged in thoughtful conversations with Clubs, former and current players, the Players Association, and The Players Alliance, among others, to listen to their views. 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. In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States. We proudly used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.
“We will continue with our plans to celebrate the memory of Hank Aaron during this season’s All-Star festivities. In addition, MLB’s planned investments to support local communities in Atlanta as part of our All-Star Legacy Projects will move forward. We are finalizing a new host city and details about these events will be announced shortly.”