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The 2021 MLB All-Star Game won't be in Georgia.
Major League Baseball announced Friday afternoon that the game would be moving out of the Atlanta Braves' Truist Park because of the state's new law that restricts voting rights. The MLB draft is also being moved out of Georgia.
Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement that "the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year's All-Star Game and MLB draft."
You can read Manfred's statement in its entirety below. No replacement location was immediately announced.
“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 Rob Manfred said in a statement. "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.”
Braves disappointed in All-Star Game being moved
In a statement, the Braves said they were "deeply disappointed" about MLB's decision to move the game. The Braves said they hoped to use the game "as a platform to enhance the discussion." The team said it supports equal voting rights for all.
The Braves added that the "businesses, employees and fans in Georgia are the victims of this decision."
Players Alliance supports MLB's decision
The Players Alliance, a group made up of over 150 current and former Black baseball players, supported the league's decision to move the game. The Players Alliance vowed to keep fighting for racial equality, saying, "We will not be silenced. We won't back down in the fight for racial equality. We will never stop breaking barriers to the ballot box."
Georgia lawmakers feeling corporate pressure
Baseball's move comes after corporations have spoken out against Georgia's new law that severely curtails voting access across the state and even makes it impermissible to provide food and water to voters waiting in line. The bill was passed by Georgia's Republican-majority state legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and was introduced in the wake of Democratic wins in November and January runoff elections.
Atlanta-based companies Coca-Cola, Delta, and Home Depot had come out against the law publicly earlier in the week. The CEO of Delta said in a company memo obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the law was "unacceptable" and "based on a lie" that widespread voter fraud impacted the outcome of the statewide elections in Georgia.
Evidence of voter fraud has not been substantiated and multiple recounts of President Joe Biden's November win in the state were conducted. Biden recently said that he would support the game being moved to another state in response to the law.
All-Star Game awarded to Truist Park in 2019
Atlanta has been prepping to host the 2021 All-Star Game since it was awarded to the city and Truist Park in 2019. The game was given to Atlanta after the opening of Truist Park — formerly SunTrust Park — ahead of the 2017 season. The Braves' new stadium replaced Turner Field.
Truist Park is located in an unincorporated area of Cobb County northwest of downtown Atlanta. Turner Field, now the home of Georgia State's football team, is located in Fulton County in Atlanta.
NBA All-Star Game once moved out of Charlotte
Baseball's move of its All-Star Game is not unprecedented. The NBA moved its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte after North Carolina passed a law that limited discrimination protections against LGBTQ people and, namely, forced transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponded with the sex on their birth certificates.
The game was ultimately played in Charlotte in 2019 after parts of the law — including the bathroom provision — were repealed in 2017 after public pressure.
The NFL also moved the 1993 Super Bowl from Phoenix after voters in the state of Arizona voted in 1991 to not make Martin Luther King Day a holiday.
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