Amid Georgia election law controversy, Adam Wainwright urges MLB not to step into “split divide”

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ST. LOUIS- One day after President Joe Biden said he would support Major League Baseball if it decided to move the 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta in the wake of election laws just passed in the state of Georgia, Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright, a Georgia native, said while individual players may use their own platforms to speak out, the league should not.

Georgia’s new law adds a photo ID requirement for voting absentee by mail, cuts the amount of time people have to request an absentee ballot and limits where drop boxes can be placed and when they can be accessed. It also bans people from handing out food or water to voters waiting in line and allows the State Election Board to remove and replace county election officials while curtailing the power of the secretary of state as Georgia’s chief elections officer.

Wainwright did not take a position on the bill in a Zoom news conference with reporters but spoke of baseball as a unifying sport especially now, in a time of steep political division.

“More than anything, I think that Baseball is America’s Pastime. Baseball is a reprieve from all things that are like that. If guys want to use their own personal platforms to go out and speak into this, I think that’s great. They should be able to do that. That should be welcomed. But Major League Baseball has a responsibility to its fans in my opinion and we need to be entertainers and go out and bring smiles and happy faces to lots and lots of people,” Wainwright said.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred and union head Tony Clark also are discussing the possibility of moving the All-Star Game because of the legislation adopted in Georgia restricting voting rights. Manfred said Wednesday he is talking to “various constituencies within the game” about the issue. Wainwright said Thursday he had not been asked by league officials to weigh in.

“Everything I know about politics, especially what we’ve seen in our last few elections, is that it is a split divide in our country. I think baseball should not bring itself into that split divide. It should be America’s Pastime for every single person in this country,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed information for this story

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