The Braves said in a statement Friday that the organization of MLB’s move was “deeply disappointed” and that companies, employees and fans were “victims” of change.
“This was neither our decision nor our recommendation and we are sad that the fans cannot see this event in our city,” the team wrote in the statement. “The Braves organization will continue to emphasize the importance of equal choice, and we were hoping our city could use this event as a platform to improve the discussion.”
Georgia governor Brian Kemp knocked out MLB in a statement for the decision, calling the decision “break culture”.
“Today Major League Baseball gave in to fear, political opportunism and liberal lies,” Kemp said in the statement. “This attack on our state is the direct result of repeated lies by Joe Biden and Stacey Abrams.”
MLB is also postponing its Atlanta draft scheduled for July, Manfred said in the statement.
The move comes after President Joe Biden endorsed the move of the game out of Atlanta because of the new electoral law, which adds a new ID requirement for voters who want to cast their votes, shortens the runoff and actually turns the electoral board over to lawmakers. amongst other things. The new bill, passed by a Republican-controlled legislature, came after two Democrats won the Senate runoff that gave Democrats control of the Chamber.
Postponing an all-star game over the legislation isn’t entirely unprecedented. The NBA withdrew their 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte in 2016 after North Carolina passed law banning anti-discrimination protection for LGBTQ people. Previously, some officials and supporters had also urged the MLB to reschedule their 2011 All-Star game due to a tough new immigration law from Arizona, but the game ultimately continued in Phoenix.
Biden had called the new Georgian law “Jim Crow on Steroids” when he called for the game to be postponed. Kemp, a Republican, called Biden’s attempt to postpone the All-Star game “ridiculous”.
MLB’s move also came after a backlash from a large group of votes, some of them calling for the Masters golf tournament to be moved from Augusta, Georgia, and for the boycott of Georgia-based companies that had not broken the new law.
Kemp was sidelined because of the new law he signed by major Atlanta-based corporations, including Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola. In an interview with Fox News on Thursday, he said he would not come under pressure and that companies would not step down due to pressure from activists.
“There is nothing I can do about it,” said Kemp. “But I don’t run a public company either. You have to answer your shareholders. There are a lot of people who work for you and have done business with you who are very upset.”
The setback for changing MLB’s plans wasn’t limited to the Braves or even the Republicans. Former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams also said she was “disappointed” with the move.
“Disappointed @MLB will postpone the All-Star game but takes pride in their stance on voting rights, “Abrams wrote in a tweet. “GA GOP exchanged economic options for oppression. On behalf of the PoC chosen by # SB202 as a target to lose votes + now wages, I urge events and productions to come and speak or stay and fight. ”
Across the aisle, Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) Said in a tweet that he told employees to draft laws that would lift MLB’s antitrust exemption.
“Any organization that misuses its power to oppose safe elections deserves increased scrutiny under the law,” Duncan wrote. Republicans inside and outside Georgia have supported the law or similar laws and raised concerns about “electoral integrity”, although there is no evidence of widespread electoral fraud.
California Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, suggested that MLB move the game to California, where several MLB franchises are located.
“In California, we’re actually working on expanding access to voters – not preventing them,” Newsom wrote in a tweet on Friday afternoon.
Nick Niedzwiadek contributed to this report.