EDITORIAL: MLB All-Star Game should leave Georgia after state passes unjust voting law

YORK DISPATCH EDITORIAL BOARD
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred.
  • Georgia recently passed a law aimed at suppressing the minority vote.
  • In response, businesses that promote racial justice should take their business out of Georgia.
  • That includes Major League Baseball, which is slated to hold its All-Star Game in Georgia.

Nearly 75 years ago, Major League Baseball made history when Jackie Robinson became its first Black player, ending decades of racial segregation in the game.

Since that time, MLB has long promoted itself as an organization that is supportive of diversity and inclusion, both on the field and off.

Now the organization and its commissioner, Rob Manfred, have a new opportunity to prove that claim.

The 2021 MLB All-Star Game should be taken away from Atlanta this July to protest new voting restrictions recently signed into law in Georgia.

The new law is a blatant attempt at voter suppression by the Republican politicians who control the levers of power in the Peach State. It’s a clear attempt at disenfranchising Black and Latino voters and a threat to democracy.

Democrats assail Georgia law, make case for voting overhaul

It’s not mere coincidence that the Republicans passed the bill after Georgia went to Biden and its voters elected two Democratic senators in January run-offs. It’s an obvious attempt by the Republicans to make sure something like that doesn’t happen again.

President Joe Biden correctly called the new law an “atrocity” and “Jim Crow in the 21st Century.”

The details of the law: The Georgia law requires a photo ID in order to vote absentee by mail, cuts the time people have to request an absentee ballot and limits where ballot drop boxes can be placed and when they can be accessed.

The restrictions are not about voter security, but rather a brazen attempt to suppress voting by minorities who are more likely to vote Democratic.

Like what you're reading?:Not a subscriber? Click here for full access to The York Dispatch.

There’s even a ridiculous provision in the law that makes it illegal to hand out food or water to people standing in line to vote. The provision is an attempt to curb voting by urban voters and people of color who lean Democratic and whose precincts often have long waits to cast ballots.

Hit Georgia where it hurts — the wallet: It’s a law that deserves to be opposed in every legal manner. We should be using every avenue to encourage more people to vote, not trying to find ways to suppress the vote.

Perhaps the most effective way to oppose the law is to hit Georgia where it hurts the most — the wallet.

That’s why MLB should take away this summer’s All-Star Game, which is slated to bring in millions of dollars of revenue into the Georgia economy.

But MLB should not be alone in taking its business out of Georgia. Every organization that has scheduled, or is thinking about scheduling, an event in the state should quickly reconsider and find other, more forward-thinking states, for their business.

There must be a price to pay for passing such unjust legislation.

Golf community unlikely to join the fight: There’s even a move afoot asking that the Masters golf tournament leave Georgia. Well, given, the checkered racial history of Augusta National Golf Club, the host site of the Masters, there is zero chance that will happen.

Still, wouldn’t it be inspiring if some pro golfers boycotted the Masters to show their displeasure with Georgia’s new voting law. The chance of that happening, of course, is next to zero. Golfers, traditionally, are an extremely conservative bunch and the Masters is considered by many to be the most prestigious golf event in the world. Players will be very unlikely to miss it for a political principle.

Nevertheless, while the golf community is unlikely to lead the way on the issue, we have higher hopes for MLB.

The organization has a history that shows it is willing to be trailblazer on social-justice issues.

It’s time to display that kind of fortitude again.