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Major League Baseball is relocating the All-Star Game over the controversial Georgia election law

April 2, 2021, 9:19 PM UTC

Major League Baseball pulled the 2021 All-Star Game out of Georgia Friday owing to a controversial law critics say will limit the voting rights of Black people and other underrepresented groups.

The election law, signed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp last week, limits the number of absentee ballot drop-off boxes in smaller counties, requires a state ID in order to receive an absentee ballot, and prohibits people from offering food or water to voters waiting in line for the polls. Advocates for the law say these measures are needed to ensure election security.

The baseball league decided to relocate its All-Star competition as well as its draft, both of which were going to be held in Atlanta, to another state. New locations for the events had not been announced as of Friday.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement that the league supports voting rights and opposes restrictions at the ballot box. “Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support,” Manfred said in the statement.

This isn’t the first time a professional sports league has pulled events from a state because of controversial laws. In 2017, the National Basketball Association moved its All-Star Game out of North Carolina after the state passed legislation that banned transgender people from using bathrooms assigned to a gender other than that listed on their birth certificate.

Some well-known Georgia figures have criticized backlash from businesses in response to the controversial election law.

Jon Ossoff, the newly elected Democratic senator from Georgia, said he does not support MLB’s decision to move its events out of Georgia. Activist and former candidate for governor Stacey Abrams said on Twitter that she was disappointed MLB will relocate its All-Star Game but that she admires its stance on voting rights.

Activists and public figures have called on other professional sports leagues and businesses to react to the new Georgia law.

  • The National Black Justice Coalition is calling for the PGA Tour and the Masters to relocate that major annual tournament from Augusta National Golf Club.
  • Activists have called for boycotts of Georgia-based companies including Home Depot, Coca-Cola, and Delta Air Lines until they do more to protest the election law.
  • James Mangold, director of the movies Ford v Ferrari and Logan, and Star Wars franchise actor Mark Hamill said they want to boycott the state, according to the Hollywood Reporter.