ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Major League Baseball is relocating this year’s All-Star Game after election laws passed in Georgia. The league has not released where the game will be played in 2021.
The game was set for July 13 at Truist Park. One of baseball’s biggest stars, Braves first baseman and reigning MVP Freddie Freeman, weighed in on the divisive issue. He suggested the game remain in Atlanta but be used as a platform for voting rights.
President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that 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 Thursday that while individual players may use their own platforms to speak out, the league should not.
In the face of repeated assertions by former President Trump that Georgia’s election was fraudulent, the Republican-controlled legislature approved a sweeping new law that would, among other things, place new ID requirements on absentee voting by mail and prohibit handing out food and water to voters standing in line.
Supporters of the law have said it merely ensures election integrity and stamps out potential fraud. Others have said the motives are more sinister after an election that registered nearly 5 million votes with no credible evidence of serious wrongdoing.
Sports has long been a conduit for promoting social change, a movement that only grown over the past year with America’s renewed reckoning over racial injustice.
Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. issued the following statement today regarding the 2021 All-Star Game:
“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. I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft.
“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box. In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States. We proudly used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.
“We will continue with our plans to celebrate the memory of Hank Aaron during this season’s All-Star festivities. In addition, MLB’s planned investments to support local communities in Atlanta as part of our AllStar Legacy Projects will move forward. We are finalizing a new host city and details about these events will be announced shortly.”