Huge sport event seized after law change
Major League Baseball is taking its ball and leaving Georgia.
The league announced Saturday (AEDT) that it is moving the 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta as backlash grows over a new Georgia law that is seen as an attack on voter access for non-white people.
"I have determined the best way to demonstrate our value as a sport is relocating this year's All-Star Game and MLB Draft," commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.
"MLB fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box."
The Braves, in a statement, opposed the move.
"The Atlanta Braves are deeply disappointed by the decisions of Major League Baseball to move its' 2021 All Star Game," the team posted on social media.
"This was neither our decisions, nor our recommendation and we are saddened that fans will not be able to see this event in our city. The Braves organisation will continue to stress the important of equal voting opportunities and we had hoped our city could use this event as a platform to enhance the discussion. Our city has always been known as a uniter in divided times and we will miss the opportunity to address issues that are important to our community.
"Unfortunately, businesses, employees, and fans in Georgia are the victims of this decision.
"We will continue to support the community legacy projects which have been planned are in process."
Manfred's decision comes as a growing number of corporations, including Atlanta-based Delta and Coca-Cola, have spoken out against the legislation that was signed into law last week.
Democrats and advocacy groups have argued that it disproportionately affects minorities.
"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," Manfred said.
The league added that it would continue with plans to celebrate the life and accomplishments of Braves legend Hank Aaron, who passed away in January.
NBA star LeBron James was among many high profile names to speak out in support of the MLB decision.
President Biden referred to it as "Jim Crow on steroids" in an interview with ESPN this week and said he would support Manfred if he decided to move the game.
"I think today's professional athletes are acting incredibly responsibly," Biden said. "I would strongly support them doing that. People look to them. They're leaders."
The league did not announce where the Mid-Summer Classic, scheduled for July 13, would be taking place now. But it won't be staged at the Atlanta Braves' Truist Field.
Originally published as Huge sport event seized after law change