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‘I don’t want to see Georgia families hurt by lost events and jobs.’
Georgia Democrat and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams reportedly pressured the Major League Baseball (MLB) commissioner not to move the All-Star Game out of Georgia after a new election bill was passed.
According to Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Greg Bluestein, Abrams spoke with an MLB senior adviser and “urged the league to keep the All-Star game in Atlanta before the decision to yank the event,” Bluestein wrote on Twitter.
As theGRIO previously reported, the MLB announced it was moving this summer’s All-Star Game from Atlanta’s Truist Park, a response to Georgia enacting a new law last month restricting voting rights.
MLB had awarded the game to Atlanta in May 2019 and the game was scheduled for July 13 as part of baseball’s midsummer break that includes the Futures Game on July 11 and Home Run Derby the following night.
Commissioner Rob Manfred made the decision to move the All-Star events and the amateur draft, which had been scheduled to be held in Atlanta for the first time. A new ballpark for this year’s events wasn’t immediately revealed.
“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 said in a statement. “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”
“Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support,” Manfred said.
MLB’s announcement came eight days after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a sweeping Republican-sponsored overhaul of state elections that includes new restrictions on voting by mail and greater legislative control over how elections are run.
Abrams, a strong opponent of the law, “strongly” encouraged the MLB against pulling the All-Star Game out of the state, according to Bluestein.
“As I have stated, I respect boycotts, although I don’t want to see Georgia families hurt by lost events and jobs,” Abrams said in response to the MLB moving the game out of the Peach State, per The Hill. “Georgians targeted by voter suppression will be hurt as opportunities go to other states.”
Meanwhile, Gov. Kemp said at a news conference that the MLB “caved to fear and lies from liberal activists” when it yanked the July 13 game from Atlanta’s Truist Park, theGRIO reported. He noted that the decision will hurt working people in the state and have long-term consequences on the economy.
“I want to be clear: I will not be backing down from this fight. We will not be intimidated, and we will also not be silenced,” Kemp said, vowing to defend the sweeping new voting law in court. Kemp said “free and fair elections” are worth any threats, boycotts or lawsuits to come.
“Major League Baseball, Coca-Cola and Delta may be scared of Stacey Abrams, Joe Biden and the left, but I am not,” he said, referring to companies that have also criticized the new law.
President Joe Biden previously said he would support major league baseball moving its All-Star game out of Georgia in protest of the recent voting bill.
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