MLB withdraws All-Star Game, Draft from Atlanta in protest of new election law
On Friday, Major League Baseball (MLB) announced that it was withdrawing the 2021 All-Star Game and Draft from Atlanta, in response to Georgia recently enacting a new election law that many have criticized for restricting voting access of residents. It is the latest major business to condemn the 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,” Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. said in a statement announcing it. “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. […] 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,” the statement continued. “Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.”
“We are finalizing a new host city and details about these events will be announced shortly,” Manfred also said.
This move from the MLB also comes after President Joe Biden called on them to move the game and draft out of Atlanta to protest the law, which Biden has described as “Jim Crow in the 21st Century” and “an atrocity”.
In response to the MLB’s decision and Biden’s characterization of the law, David Schoen—who was one of former President Donald Trump‘s attorneys during his second impeachment trial, lives in Atlanta, and a civil rights lawyer who has handled ballot access and voting rights cases for 30 years—in an exclusive statement to SaraACarter.com said that the baseball league acted on “misinformation” about the law.
“Today the MLB has acted on this misinformation and has taken a reckless step in advancing a cancel culture that just doesn’t care about facts,” Schoen said. “The American people should let the MLB and any other organization that plays politics with our fundamental constitutional rights know that we will not support them.”
As for Biden, the attorney said that the president “has badly and intentionally misled the American people about the provisions of the new Georgia law. That is dangerous and outrageous.”
“Additionally, the comparison to Jim Crow laws, let alone his assertion that this law is worse, demeans the experience and memory of all of the thousands of victims of the actual Jim Crow laws that for years effectively denied perhaps the most important attribute of our Democracy – the right to vote,” Schoen continued. “Jim Crow laws were vicious, racist means used to completely disenfranchise African-Americans and people of conscience died fighting against them. There is nothing about the new Georgia law that even remotely approaches either the intention or the effect of Jim Crow laws and the president owes the American people an apology.”
However, the attorney noted that “it is good and appropriate to have full detailed discussions about changes in voting laws and about ensuring full access to the ballot for all legal, registered voters. But those discussions have to be based on facts or we are misleading the American voter on fundamentally important issues at the heart of our Democracy.”
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.