Georgia voter law could impact MLB All-Star Game at Atlanta

By Field Level Media
Aug 21, 2020; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; General view of a Phil Neikro statue at Truist Park prior to game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

The MLB Players Association said that it is ready to have a discussion with the league regarding a new voter law in Georgia, with the All-Star Game set for July at Atlanta possibly hanging in the balance.

“Players are very much aware,” MPBPA executive director Tony Clark told the Boston Globe after changes to Georgia voter laws were made this week that had the potential to make it more difficult for Black people to cast ballots.

Signed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Thursday, changes regarding absentee voting and the use of voting drop boxes were made, as well as provisions to require additional identification from voters. It will even be considered unlawful to distribute food or water to voters waiting in long lines to cast ballots.

President Biden criticized the Georgia law Thursday saying in a statement that it would “deny people the right to vote.” He added that the Georgia law “is a blatant attack on the Constitution and good conscience.”

The 2021 MLB All-Star Game is set to be played in the state on July 13 at Truist Park, home of the Atlanta Braves.

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“As it relates to the All-Star Game, we have not had a conversation with the league on that issue,” Clark said to the Globe. “If there is an opportunity to, we would look forward to having that conversation.”

An opinion column in the Los Angeles Times called for MLB to “move the 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta.”

The Los Angeles Dodgers were set to play host to the All-Star Game in 2020, but that game was canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Dodgers instead were awarded the 2022 game since Atlanta was already named as host in 2021.

As recently as last year, MLB has expressed a deep regard for voter rights, giving its employees the day off on election day. Commissioner Rob Manfred called the right to vote, “a pillar of American democracy (and) a privilege that we should all appreciate and exercise.”

In recent objections by sports leagues, the NFL moved the 1993 Super Bowl from Tempe, Ariz., to Pasadena, Calif., after Arizona voters rejected a proposal to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day a state holiday. And in 2017, the NBA moved its All-Star Game from Charlotte to New Orleans after a law was passed in North Carolina that directed transgender people which bathroom to use.

–Field Level Media