MLB Withdraws All Star Game in the Wake of Voting Law Controversy
By Peri Kahn
A few weeks ago, Major League Baseball (MLB) moved this year’s All Star Game from Atlanta, Georgia, to Denver, Colorado to protest controversial voting laws recently passed in Georgia.
Georgia’s government recently passed a bill that makes it harder for people in the state to vote, specifically African Americans. During that election and the one for senators that followed, Democrats proved victory in Georgia, a historically conservative state, due to the hard work of many, especially Stacey Abrams, who got black people to vote, who might not have voted at all. This threat to the Republican politicians in Georgia brought these new voting laws to subject. The actual laws include regulations, such as requiring a new photo ID for people voting absentee by mail. Other examples of these new laws are the restriction of giving water to people waiting on line at in-person voting sites, and that state officials will be able to take over local election offices. These new reforms have been put in place to indirectly discourage and prevent African Americans from voting because that is the population that helped the democratic presidential and senate nominees win.
As a result of these discriminatory laws, ones President Biden describes as “Jim Crow in the 21st century,” the MLB has withdrawn the All-Star Game in order to take a public stance against the issue, and express their opinion to America. Although the Atlanta Braves, the previous host team for the All-Star Game, did not do anything specifically wrong, in fact, they wanted to host the game to honor the late Hank Aaron, one of the organization’s best players, but the fact that the game was in Georgia was enough for the MLB to move it.
Many Georgia politicians, particularly Governor Brian Kemp, and former MLB players had reactions that didn’t agree with the MLB’s decision. Brian Kemp thought that moving the All-Star Game was related to cancel culture, and that the MLB was just pleasing the protestors and activists that support movements like Black Lives Matter. Former major league pitcher, David Wells, also publically voiced his opinion, saying that Atlanta is a perfectly great place to play baseball. He also said that the world is equal now compared to the widespread segregation that was apparent during his career. However, this is not true because racism and discrimination are still deeply rooted in society.
Moving the All-Star Game did not just have a social impact but economic ones as well. Moving the All-Star Game to Denver will severely affect local businesses around Atlanta that are suffering from Covid-19, especially minority-owned businesses. On the flip side, Denver will gain revenue, around $100 million, as a result of the switch. People from across the country are going to want to get out of quarantine and see their favorite players in action, which will bring tourists to Denver and the surrounding communities. Many will extend their vacations and spend
time at the mountain resorts, like Vail and Breckenridge. Also, the more people who visit the Denver metro area the more people want to expand their business there, which in turn increases Denver’s demographics.
It is nice seeing the MLB take a strong stand against racism in our society, when for so many years the organization was silent about segregation occurring within its own teams.