Georgia Governor Says He’ll Fight After MLB Moves All-Star Game
(Bloomberg) -- Georgia’s Republican governor vowed a fight after Major League Baseball’s move to take this year’s All-Star Game and the MLB Draft event from Atlanta to show its concern for recently passed legislation on election procedures.
Friday’s move also spurred a backlash from former President Donald Trump, who has issued two statements on the subject so far, calling for boycotts of companies in favor of the shift in venue.
“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,” Commissioner Robert Manfred Jr. said on Friday. “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”
Manfred didn’t specifically mention Georgia’s new election law signed by Governor Brian Kemp on March 25, which its supporters called a measure to restore “integrity” after unfounded allegations of fraud in the 2020 presidential election and opponents called an act of voter suppression.
“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 at a news conference on Saturday.
“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 two of the companies that have criticized the state’s law, and Abrams, the Democratic activist.
Last week, with pressure mounting in the state, groups were threatening consumer boycotts of Coca-Cola Co., Delta Air Lines Inc. and other companies that have supported the bill’s sponsors.
Trump, who was barred from major social media in January, weighed in Friday and Saturday via press release.
“Baseball is already losing tremendous numbers of fans,” he said in a statement on Friday. “Boycott baseball and all of the woke companies that are interfering with Free and Fair Elections. Are you listening Coke, Delta, and all!”
Trump followed up on Saturday with a statement that also named JPMorgan Chase, ViacomCBS, Citigroup, Cisco Systems, United Parcel Service and Merck. “Don’t go back to their products until they relent,” he said.
Kemp’s press conference followed a series of tweets criticizing the MLB’s move. The league “caved to fear, political opportunism and liberal lies,” he wrote.
Florida GOP Senator Marco Rubio on Friday criticized “woke corporate hypocrites” in a tweet.
In a statement, the Atlanta Braves said they were “deeply disappointed” by the decision. “We are saddened that fans will not be able to see this event in our city,” the Braves said, adding that the team said it “will continue to stress the importance of equal voting opportunities.”
Former President Barack Obama on Saturday commended MLB in a tweet for “taking taking a stand on behalf of voting rights for all citizens.”
Manfred said his decision follows “thoughtful conversations with Clubs, former and current players, the Players Association, and The Players Alliance, among others.” He said the league is “finalizing a new host city.”
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