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Georgia Republicans are mad about Major League Baseball (MLB) moving the All-Star Game from the Atlanta suburbs in response to the state’s new restrictive voting laws.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and House Speaker David Ralston had choice words for Stacey Abrams but didn’t address MLB or its Players Alliance.
Like their counterparts on the national level, Kemp and Ralston insist on distorting the facts with claims of extremist left delusions. Kemp has spent the better part of the last decade trying to position himself as being on the right side of elections. And Ralston made it clear last spring during the pandemic primary he was opposed to widespread absentee ballot use. As NewsOne previously covered, the bill does the exact opposite of what Kemp and Ralston claim.
For her part, Abrams said she respects the decision to boycott but was disappointed in the MLB’s decision. Abrams would like to see more corporations speak up on voting rights and attacks on democracy. In a recent op-ed, she laid out her challenge to those wanting to stand on the right side of history, including supporting the passage of federal legislation and stopping the passage of bad bills in other states.
The Atlanta Braves released a statement saying the organization also did not agree with MLB’s decision and was upset that it would not hold the game at Truist Stadium located in Cobb County just north of Atlanta. Nse Ufot, CEO of the New Georgia Project and New Georgia Project Action Fund, hit Twitter to call out the organization for its racism and silence on voting rights.
MLB announced Friday it would not host the upcoming All-Star game in metro-Atlanta. In its statement, the league reaffirmed its commitment to fair access to voting.
“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,” said Commissioner Rob Manfred. He said moving the game was “the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport.”
The Players Alliance said it planned to keep promises to Georgians despite the circumstances. “We will use our voice, our platform, and our partnerships now more than ever to create real, tangible change for the Black community to stand up for every American’s right to vote,” read the statement.
“We will not be silenced. We won’t back down in the fight for racial equity. We will never stop breaking barriers to the ballot box,” the Players Alliance statement continued.
Manfred also touted the MLB’s membership in the Civic Alliance, a non-partisan civic engagement organization. The Civic Alliance also put out a statement Friday afternoon, encouraging leaders of member organizations to sign on.
“We stand in solidarity with voters 一 and with the Black executives and leaders at the helm of this movement 一 in our nonpartisan commitment to equality and democracy,” read the Civic Alliance statement. “If our government is going to work for all of us, each of us must have equal freedom to vote, and elections must reflect the will of voters.”
While stopping short of calling for support of H.R. 1 and H.R. 4, as has been the request of Georgia advocates, including Abrams, the Civic Alliance wants elected officials in state and federal government to work together prioritize full democratic participation. “There are hundreds of bills threatening to make voting more difficult in dozens of states nationwide,” continued the Civic Alliance.
Sen. Raphael Warnock framed this as the unfortunate consequence of the actions of politicians making power grabs. “It is not the people of Georgia or the workers of Georgia who crafted this law; it is politicians seeking to retain power at the expense of Georgians’ voices,” said Warnock in an emailed statement.
Using the moment to urge passage of federal voter protection laws, Warnock called on businesses and organizations to continue to fight voter suppression. “It is my hope that businesses, athletes, and entertainers can protest this law not by leaving Georgia but by coming here and fighting voter suppression head-on and hand-in-hand with the community,” Warnock shared. “Additionally, the urgency to pass federal voter protection laws grows every day, and I will continue to be a leader in that fight.”
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