April 2, 2021

MLB Pulling 2021 All-Star Game, Draft Out Of Atlanta

The 2021 All-Star Game will not be played in Atlanta, Georgia.

Commissioner Rob Manfred announced on Friday that after "thoughtful conversations" with former and current players, the Players Association, and teams' front office executives, the All-Star Game and MLB Draft will be relocated.

Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box. . . . 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 are finalizing a new host city and details about these events will be announced shortly.

The decision comes after Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed a bill restricting the right to vote. The bill

imposes new identification requirements for those casting ballots by mail; curtails the use of drop boxes for absentee ballots; allows electors to challenge the eligibility of an unlimited number of voters and requires counties to hold hearings on such challenges within 10 days; makes it a crime for third-party groups to hand out food and water to voters standing in line; blocks the use of mobile voting vans, as Fulton County did last year after purchasing two vehicles at a cost of more than $700,000; and prevents local governments from directly accepting grants from the private sector.

The 95-page law also strips authority from the secretary of state, making him a nonvoting member of the State Election Board, and allows lawmakers to initiate takeovers of local election boards — measures that critics said could allow partisan appointees to slow down or block election certification or target heavily Democratic jurisdictions, many of which are in the Atlanta area and are home to the state’s highest concentrations of Black and Brown voters.

Kemp signed the measures designed to suppress votes from non-whites surrounded by six white men gathered under a painting of the notorious Callaway Plantation, where more than 100 Black people had been enslaved. Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Inquirer calls the painting "a monument to Georgia's history of brutal white supremacy":

The portrait of the plantation was the starkest reminder of Georgia's history of white racism that spans slavery, Jim Crow segregation, the rebirth of the modern Ku Klux Klan, and today's voter purges targeting Black and brown voters — but it wasn't the only one. At the very moment that Kemp was signing the law with his all-white posse, a Black female Georgia lawmaker — Rep. Park Cannon — who'd knocked on the governor's door in the hopes of watching the bill signing was instead dragged away and arrested by state troopers, in a scene that probably had the Deep South's racist sheriffs of yesteryear like Bull Connor or Jim Clark smiling in whatever fiery hellhole they now inhabit.

Bunch notes that the Callaway Plantation is now a 56-acre historic site. Its promotional material glosses over the fact that it was slavery that made the plantation successful. That reminded me of our 1991 music vacation to Louisiana and Mississippi, during which we took a tour of a planation, probably not unlike what tourists can do at Callaway. Our tour guide made reference to the housing where the "workers" lived. Someone interrupted: "You mean slaves, right?" She hemmed and hawed before reluctantly and quietly acknowledging that fact and quickly moving on to another topic.

It was probably inevitable that MLB would be forced to act after President Joe Biden weighed in on Wednesday, calling the new law "Jim Crow on steroids" and saying he "would strongly support" moving the game out of Atlanta.

The Atlanta team issued a statement and committed some apostrophe abuse:

1 comment:

Paul Hickman said...

Boyfred's Best Decision yet !