On Friday, just one day after the start of a new MLB season, the league announced some huge news: the 2021 All-Star Game will no longer be played at Truist Park, home of the Atlanta Braves. The MLB Draft, also scheduled to take place in Georgia, will move to a new location as well.
The decision comes after recent voter suppression laws were passed in Georgia, which limit access to voting for many residents, and especially harm non-white voters. The laws have, justifiably, come under fire for being both undemocratic and racist, and many have been calling on organizations to pull out of projects and events in the state.
Rather surprisingly, MLB is listening to those calls. Here’s what commissioner Rob Manfred had to say in a press release:
“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.”
It’s a bummer for Georgia residents who oppose the laws, as the actions of their politicians are taking a baseball celebration from them. But it’s a shockingly strong move by the league to take quick action, and a very good thing in my eyes.
Now we wait to see where the new All-Star Game will take place.