Major League Baseball announced Friday that it is moving the 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta in response to a new Georgia law that has civil rights groups concerned about its potential to restrict voting access for people of color.
The 2021 MLB draft, a new addition to All-Star Game festivities this year, will also be relocated.
In a statement, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the league is "finalizing a new host city and details about these events will be announced shortly." A source told ESPN that the 2022 All-Star Game is still planned for Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and that that site won't be moved up to fill the void this summer.
"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," Manfred said in his statement. "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."
The Atlanta Braves said they were "deeply disappointed" by the outcome.
"This was neither our decision, nor our recommendation and we are saddened that fans will not be able to see this event in our city," the team said in a statement. "The Braves organization will continue to stress the importance of equal voting opportunities and we had hoped our city could use this event as a platform to enhance the discussion. Our city has always been known as a uniter in divided times and we will miss the opportunity to address issues that are important to our community.
"Unfortunately, businesses, employees and fans in Georgia are the victims of this decision."
The Players Alliance, consisting of more than 100 current and former players who have united in an effort to empower Black communities, came out in support of MLB's decision with a statement that read in part: "We want to make our voice heard loud and clear in our opposition of the recent Georgia legislation that not only disproportionately disenfranchises the Black community, but also paves the way for other states to pass similarly harmful laws based largely on widespread falsehoods and disinformation."
Braves are upset. Gov. Kemp and Republicans are furious and are already talking about punishing the MLB in some way. This does however put Georgia Democratic senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in a bad spot. Ossoff already has come out against this.
We'll see how this plays out.