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The Major League Baseball (MLB) decided earlier today to move the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to a yet to defined location as a response to the Georgia Electoral bill passed last week. The Commissioner of Baseball, Robert D. Manfred Jr. made the announcement public in a press release, where he said the decision best reflects “our values as a sport” and that it was a choice made to highlight the MLB’s commitment supporting “voting rights for everyone”.
The Atlanta Braves Organization responded shortly after, publishing a statement through their Twitter account saying the club was “deeply disappointed” of the decision. Noting that it would be fans, businesses, and employees those who would be victims of the decision.
Georgia politicians have also weighed in the issue, with former candidate for governor Stacey Abraham saying that while she is disappointed of the move, she commends the players and the organization for taking it. Abrahams admitted that the decision would create economic hardships to the state, but she blamed the GOP (not the MLB who actually made the decision) for the economic harm, as the GOP “prioritized making harder for people of color to vote over the economic well-being of all Georgians”.
Republicans, on the other hand, have scorciated the MLB for their decision. Georgia Governor Matt Kemp lamented the MLB had “caved to fear, political opportunism, and liberal lies” and former Senator Kelly Loeffler releasing a statement on Twitter lamenting that Baseball has fallen into the “woke, misinformation campaign spearheaded by Democrats”.
The MLB boycott was neither the beginning nor will be the end
Moving out the MLB all-star game was not a decision made out of the vacuum, with other important corporations based in Georgia, like Coca-Cola and Delta previously calling the Georgia electoral legislation as “unacceptable”, after some activist groups had initiated calls to boycott the companies if they did not openly rejected the law.
The MLB was next on the list of those who wanted companies to openly reject the approval of the state law, with even President Biden saying yesterday that he would support the move and continued to call the bill “Jim Crow on steroids”, during an interview with ESPN.
The President also repeated a false claim that the Georgia bill would restrict voting hours until 5 P.M, an affirmation that had been previously debunked by The Washington Post who gave the President four pinocchios for that.
Others have also highlighted the repeated lie that the Georgia bill would reduce voting hours has forced the MLB to relocate the All-Star game from Atlanta, with Political reporter Josh Kraushaar saying that it was “remarkable” how the misinformation had caused this fallout.
Many republicans have also called up on the hypocrisy of many American Corporations, who are willing to take a stand against Republican legislation at home but are eerily silent on the human right atrocities made by the Chinese Communist party (CCP) against the Uyghur population in Xianjiang. With Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) tweeting that the MLB decided to cave to pressure the same week they announced a new deal with a company related with the CCP.
The latest call from progressive activists asking corporations to make their economic decisions in response to a state law would probably not stop at the Coca-Cola, Delta or the MLB, as some have began calls to Hollywood to take a similar action against the Peach State, with actor Mark Hamill (aka Luke Skywalker) publicly supporting a call to stop filming in Georgia as a response to the law.
Media outlets, like the Los Angeles Times have already published articles highlighting that Hollywood companies who are usually outspoken on these type of issues have remained silent about the Georgia electoral bill, explaining that this might be a result of the Peach State becoming a central hub for the filmmaking industry as it offers substantial tax incentives for anyone filming there.
By deciding to take an active side on the current controversy over the Georgia electoral bill, MLB has reawaken a critical conversation on the political role that private corporations should play.
Like Senator Rubio said, if companies are expected to relocate their businesses or cancel activities for a bill that prevents activists to give water on a line before going to vote, how can it be justified that many of those same companies are expanding their businesses in a country where genocide is taking place?
Following this path would open companies to fair criticisms about double standards, being strict at home while conveniently silent abroad. Is this a route that major corporations want to follow?
Daniel is a Political Science and Economics student from the University of South Florida. He worked as a congressional intern to Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) from January to May 2020. He also is the head of international analysis at Politiks // Daniel es un estudiante de Cs Políticas y Economía en la Universidad del Sur de la Florida. Trabajo como pasante legislativo para el Representate Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) desde enero hasta mayo del 2020. Daniel también es el jefe de análisis internacional de Politiks.