All out of Georgia! MLB moves 2021 All-Star Game over new voting law - Commissioner Rob Manfred says league 'opposes restrictions at the ballot box' and will find alternate venue

 Amid growing pressure from civil rights advocates as well as current and former players, Major League Baseball has decided to move the 2021 All-Star Game away from Atlanta's Truist Park because of Georgia's new voting law.

MLB's draft, which was slated to be held in Atlanta, is also being relocated. 

'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,' read Friday's statement from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. '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.'

Georgia's new voting law, which limits voting access, had prompted calls from as high as the White House to move the midsummer classic out of Atlanta. 

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp responded to the decision in a series of angry tweets on Friday.

'Today, @MLB caved to fear, political opportunism, and liberal lies. 

'I will not back down. Georgians will not be bullied. We will continue to stand up for secure, accessible, fair elections.' 

MLB awarded the game to Atlanta in 2019. It was scheduled for July 13 as part of baseball's midsummer break that includes the Futures Game on July 11 and the Home Run Derby the following night. 

The event is lucrative for host cities, generating an average of $84.4 million a year over the last decade, according to MLB data.  

Amid growing pressure from voting rights advocates as well as current and former players, Major League Baseball has decided to move the 2021 All-Star Game away from Truist Park outside Atlanta because of Georgia's controversial new law. '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,' read a statement by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. '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'

Amid growing pressure from voting rights advocates as well as current and former players, Major League Baseball has decided to move the 2021 All-Star Game away from Truist Park outside Atlanta because of Georgia's controversial new law. '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,' read a statement by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. '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'

The game was set for July 13 at Truist Park, the Braves' 41,000-seat stadium in suburban Cobb County. It would have been the third time Atlanta served as host, having previously held the event in 1972 and 2000. Several companies, such as Delta Airlines, have criticized the law

The game was set for July 13 at Truist Park, the Braves' 41,000-seat stadium in suburban Cobb County. It would have been the third time Atlanta served as host, having previously held the event in 1972 and 2000. Several companies, such as Delta Airlines, have criticized the law 

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp responded to the decision in a series of tweets on Friday

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp responded to the decision in a series of tweets on Friday

The Atlanta Braves, the All-Star Game's host team, criticized MLB's decision in a statement, saying the club is 'deeply disappointed.' 

'This was neither our decision, nor our recommendation and we are saddened that fans will not be able to see this event in our city,' read the statement. 'The Braves organization will continue to stress the importance of equal voting opportunities and we had hoped our city could use this event as a platform to enhance the discussion. Our city has always been known as a uniter in divided times and we will miss the opportunity to address issues that are important to our community.

'Unfortunately, businesses, employees, and fans in Georgia are the victims of this decision.'

Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom seized the opportunity to offer up one of the five MLB stadiums in his state, tweeting: 'Hey @MLB — feel free to give us a call. In California we actually work to expand voter access -- not prevent it.' 


In the face of repeated assertions by former President Trump that Georgia's election was fraudulent, the Republican-controlled legislature approved a sweeping new law that would, among other things, place new ID requirements on absentee voting by mail and prohibit handing out food and water to voters standing in line.

Supporters of the law have said it merely ensures election integrity and stamps out potential fraud. Others have said the motives are more sinister after an election that registered nearly 5 million votes with no credible evidence of serious wrongdoing.     

MLB still plans to honor the late Hank Aaron at this year's All-Star Game, wherever it is held. Aaron famous endured racist abuse and threats to surpass Babe Ruth as baseball's all-time home run leader in Atlanta in 1974. He passed away earlier this year in Atlanta at 86

MLB still plans to honor the late Hank Aaron at this year's All-Star Game, wherever it is held. Aaron famous endured racist abuse and threats to surpass Babe Ruth as baseball's all-time home run leader in Atlanta in 1974. He passed away earlier this year in Atlanta at 86

'Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,' Manfred's statement continued. '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.'

Manfred went on to invoke the memory of Braves legend Hank Aaron, the African-American slugger who famously endured intense racial abuse and violent threats to overtake Babe Ruth for baseball's all-time home run record.  

'We will continue with our plans to celebrate the memory of Hank Aaron during this season's All-Star festivities,' Manfred continued. '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.'

Major League Baseball moves 2021 All-Star Game out of Georgia
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The Atlanta Braves, the All-Star Game's host team, criticized MLB's decision in a statement, saying the club is 'deeply disappointed'

The Atlanta Braves, the All-Star Game's host team, criticized MLB's decision in a statement, saying the club is 'deeply disappointed'

Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom seized the opportunity to offer up one of the five MLB stadiums in his state

Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom seized the opportunity to offer up one of the five MLB stadiums in his state

One of baseball's biggest stars, Braves first baseman and reigning National League MVP Freddie Freeman (pictured), weighed in on the divisive issue Thursday, just a few hours before Atlanta opened the season in Philadelphia. Freeman suggested that the game should remain at Truist Park, but be used as a platform to promote voting rights. 'Why not?' he said. 'What's happened in the last couple of months has already gone through' the state Legislature and been signed into law last week by Governor Brian Kemp. 'Why not use what we already have here as a platform in the city and the state it's been passed through,' Freeman added. 'I think it would be better to keep it (in Atlanta) and use it as a platform'

One of baseball's biggest stars, Braves first baseman and reigning National League MVP Freddie Freeman (pictured), weighed in on the divisive issue Thursday, just a few hours before Atlanta opened the season in Philadelphia. Freeman suggested that the game should remain at Truist Park, but be used as a platform to promote voting rights. 'Why not?' he said. 'What's happened in the last couple of months has already gone through' the state Legislature and been signed into law last week by Governor Brian Kemp. 'Why not use what we already have here as a platform in the city and the state it's been passed through,' Freeman added. 'I think it would be better to keep it (in Atlanta) and use it as a platform'

One of baseball's biggest stars, Braves first baseman and reigning National League MVP Freddie Freeman, weighed in on the divisive issue Thursday, just a few hours before Atlanta opened the season in Philadelphia.

Freeman suggested that the game should remain at Truist Park, but be used as a platform to promote voting rights.

'Why not?' he said. 'What's happened in the last couple of months has already gone through' the state Legislature and been signed into law last week by Governor Brian Kemp.

Protesters gather on a busy street corner to voice their opposition and share details to area residents about a far-reaching overhaul of the state's election laws

Protesters gather on a busy street corner to voice their opposition and share details to area residents about a far-reaching overhaul of the state's election laws

'Why not use what we already have here as a platform in the city and the state it's been passed through,' Freeman added. 'I think it would be better to keep it (in Atlanta) and use it as a platform.'

Others have taken a different tack. 

Biden told ESPN he would 'strongly support' pulling the game out of Atlanta because of a law he described as 'Jim Crow on steroids.'

Two of Atlanta's sports team owners also seemed to express their opposition to the law in statements that bemoaned restrictions on voting access, though neither specifically cited the new statute.

'Every voice and every vote matters and should be heard through our democratic process in Georgia,' said Arthur Blank, owner of the NFL's Atlanta Falcons and Major League Soccer's Atlanta United. 'We should be working to make voting easier, not harder for every eligible citizen.'

Tony Ressler, owner of the NBA's Atlanta Hawks, noted that his team was the first in country to open its arena as an early voting site for last year's elections. He said the team remains 'committed to endorsing steps that promote equality and encourage participation by all who seek to cast a ballot.'

Psaki: 'Our tone isn't changing' over Georgia election law
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A truck bearing an ACLU message against the recently-passed Senate Bill 202 which was signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp appears on a truck passing near the state capitol

A truck bearing an ACLU message against the recently-passed Senate Bill 202 which was signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp appears on a truck passing near the state capitol

Ann White of Roswell holds protest signs on the North Wing stairs of the Georgia State Capitol building on day 38 of the legislative session in Atlanta

Ann White of Roswell holds protest signs on the North Wing stairs of the Georgia State Capitol building on day 38 of the legislative session in Atlanta

Sports has long been a conduit for promoting social change, a movement that only grown over the past year with America's renewed reckoning over racial injustice.

Often, it involves major events with hefty economic clout.

In the early 1990s, the Super Bowl was moved out of Arizona after the state failed to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day an official holiday. Once the state reversed course, the game was held in Arizona in 1996 and will return again for the fourth time in 2023.

For years, the NCAA barred holding its championships in states where the Confederate battle flag was officially recognized. The last of those states, Mississippi, adopted a new flag in January that removed a banner many consider a vestige of slavery.

The 2017 NBA All-Star Game was stripped from Charlotte because of objections to a North Carolina law that limited anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people. After the so-called 'bathroom bill' was repealed, the NBA brought its showcase event to Charlotte in 2019.

From left foreground, Toni Watkins; her partner, state Rep. Park Cannon; Martin Luther King III, and his wife, Andrea King, march silently with others along Mitchell Street in front of the Capitol building in Atlanta. Cannon returned to the Statehouse on Monday, March 29, 2021 for the first time since she was arrested after knocking on Governor Brian Kemp's private office while he was delivering remarks about the state's new elections restrictions

From left foreground, Toni Watkins; her partner, state Rep. Park Cannon; Martin Luther King III, and his wife, Andrea King, march silently with others along Mitchell Street in front of the Capitol building in Atlanta. Cannon returned to the Statehouse on Monday, March 29, 2021 for the first time since she was arrested after knocking on Governor Brian Kemp's private office while he was delivering remarks about the state's new elections restrictions

While numerous GOP-governed states around the country have pushed for new restrictions on voting in the wake of Biden's victory over Trump, Georgia has become a lightning rod for the issue because of its pivotal role in the November election.

With the hefty turnout buoyed by early and absentee voting, Biden won a narrow victory over Trump in the Peach State - the first time Georgia has been won by a Democratic presidential candidate since 1992.

Also, the state's two Republican incumbent senators were defeated by Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, giving their party effective control of the U.S. Senate.

While much of the attention in the sports world has focused on the All-Star Game, a civil rights organization called on the PGA Tour and the Masters to pull the tournament - the sport's first major championship of the year - out of Georgia by not playing at Augusta National.

The National Black Justice Coalition also urged professional golfers not to refuse to play in Georgia until the law is repealed.

Republican Governor Brian Kemp signs the law S.B. 202, a restrictive voting law that activists have said aimed to curtail the influence of Black voters who were instrumental in state elections that helped Democrats win the White House and narrow control of the U.S. Senate, in this handout photo posted to Kemp's Twitter feed on March 25. Supporters of the law, seven of whom are pictured, say it merely ensures election integrity and stamps out potential fraud. Others have said the motives are more sinister after an election that registered nearly 5 million votes with no credible evidence of serious wrongdoing

Republican Governor Brian Kemp signs the law S.B. 202, a restrictive voting law that activists have said aimed to curtail the influence of Black voters who were instrumental in state elections that helped Democrats win the White House and narrow control of the U.S. Senate, in this handout photo posted to Kemp's Twitter feed on March 25. Supporters of the law, seven of whom are pictured, say it merely ensures election integrity and stamps out potential fraud. Others have said the motives are more sinister after an election that registered nearly 5 million votes with no credible evidence of serious wrongdoing

The PGA Tour has no control over the Masters. The tournament is run by Augusta National, an exclusive club that has previously faced protests over its one-time exclusion of Blacks and women from the membership rolls. The club ignored the request and carried on with a women's amateur event that leads into next week's Masters.

The PGA Tour holds its season finale at East Lake in Atlanta, and it has another tournament in the fall on the Georgia coast at Sea Island.

Another prominent women's tournament is set to be held in suburban Atlanta this summer.

The Women's PGA Championship, one of five majors on the LPGA Tour, is scheduled for Atlanta Athletic Club on June 24-27.

The PGA of America said in a statement, 'The KPMG Women's PGA Championship is a partnership between three organizations committed to diversity, equity and inclusion: PGA of America, LPGA and KPMG. 

'Like many entities, we are monitoring developments related to the new state legislation on voting access. We believe elections should be accessible, fair and secure, and support broad voter participation.'

Governor Brian Kemp signed the controversial bill into law last week amid intense criticism

Governor Brian Kemp signed the controversial bill into law last week amid intense criticism

All out of Georgia! MLB moves 2021 All-Star Game over new voting law - Commissioner Rob Manfred says league 'opposes restrictions at the ballot box' and will find alternate venue All out of Georgia! MLB moves 2021 All-Star Game over new voting law - Commissioner Rob Manfred says league 'opposes restrictions at the ballot box' and will find alternate venue Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 09:19 Rating: 5

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