Major League Baseball announced today that the 2021 All-Star Game will not be played in Atlanta, Georgia. The decision to change the location comes one week after new legislation was passed in Georgia placing heavy restrictions on voters (Election Integrity Act 2021). The annual Midsummer Classic was originally scheduled to be played in Atlanta’s Truist Park, July 13.
In a statement, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said, “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.”
Manfred also stated MLB “fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”
After Manfred reached out and spoke to three influential figures within MLB’s Players Alliance — MLB pitcher Edwin Jackson, Dee Strange Gordon and Cameron Maybin (the Black players who got the ball rolling) — he was convinced to join them in their fight to have the game moved out of Georgia.
The Players Alliance, whose mission includes creating an inclusive culture within baseball and providing opportunities for the Black community, were elated with the relocation decision and issued in part this statement:
“We want to make our voice heard loud and clear in our opposition of the recent Georgia legislation that not only disproportionately disenfranchises the Black community, but also paves the way for other states to pass similarly harmful laws based largely on widespread falsehoods and disinformation.”
White superstars such as Clayton Kershaw, Evan Longoria and Cody Bellinger are also a part of this special group of groundbreaking MLB players.
I want to applaud and extend a thank you to @MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred for moving the All Star Game out of Georgia following the Governor’s signing of the new restrictive voting law. Way to be a leader and take a strong stance!
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) April 2, 2021
“A lot of our ballplayers are from Atlanta, not just the Black players,” said Players Alliance President Curtis Granderson on MLB Network. “We’re looking to do a lot more, especially in the State of Georgia.”
“We’ve grown into 150 plus players and we’ve been able to a lot of things virtually, going to 33 different cities, handing out COVID supplies and other equipment wherever needed, and we are just getting started, We are less than a year old.”
New voting bills, signed into law by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp on March 26, have restrictions that disproportionately affect communities of color. The new legislation requires Georgia residents to have a photo ID for absentee voters by mail, reduces the amount of time voters will have to request an absentee ballot and reduces the number of places where dropboxes can be placed. It goes so far as to prohibit anyone from giving out food or water to voters who are waiting in line.
Moving the All-Star Game had been debated in the last week in the wake of the new Georgia voting law. On Wednesday, President Biden responded to questions about moving the game from Atlanta, saying he would “strongly support” pulling the game out of Atlanta because of a law he described as “Jim Crow on steroids.”
Following the passing of the voting law, MLB Players Association director Tony Clark told the Boston Globe that the union body was “very much aware” of the significance of the game being in Georgia and said that moving it would be considered.
The Braves are obviously ticked off with all of the potential revenue getting picked off in the ninth inning.
The Braves statement regarding the moving of the MLB All-Star Game: pic.twitter.com/0Iapm3eIre
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) April 2, 2021
The new host city for the All-Star Game has not yet been determined. Manfred said MLB would continue with plans to celebrate the memory of Hank Aaron, who died this past January, during the All-Star Game events.