Republicans of all stripes are crying “cancel culture” after Major League Baseball commissioner Robert Manfred Jr. announced Friday that the All-Star Game would no longer take place in Atlanta following Georgia’s enactment of a new restrictive voter law.
The move comes amid demands that companies headquartered in Georgia denounce the legislation, with some calling for boycotts of those that don’t.
Atlanta won the bid to host the traditional Midsummer Classic back in 2019, a huge honor in the world of baseball which would have resulted in a sprawling, multi-day event with attractions across the city and a chance to show off the relatively new Truist Park stadium complex. The Atlanta Braves had been lobbying to host since 2017, when the stadium was built.
“Today, Major League Baseball caved to fear, political opportunism, and liberal lies” Gov. Brian Kemp (R) said in a statement. “Georgians — and all Americans — should fully understand what the MLB’s knee-jerk decision means: cancel culture and woke political activists are coming for every aspect of your life, sports included.”
Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) also called for punishment.
The @MLB is pathetic. Totally caving to the lies of the Left. Boycott the MLB.
— Buddy Carter (@RepBuddyCarter) April 2, 2021
Republican lawmakers outside of Georgia got in on the action as well.
The former chief of staff and campaign manager for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blamed the “woke mob.”
This should be a huge wake up call to conservatives. If the woke mob can bully MLB into moving the All Star game with pure fiction anything is possible. https://t.co/6dqOjzE2Ss
— Josh Holmes (@HolmesJosh) April 2, 2021
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) called the move “cowardly.”
A cowardly boycott based on a lie. https://t.co/OF20A9qCkL
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) April 2, 2021
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) said he was already preparing retaliatory legislation.
In light of @MLB‘s stance to undermine election integrity laws, I have instructed my staff to begin drafting legislation to remove Major League Baseball’s federal antitrust exception.
— Rep. Jeff Duncan (@RepJeffDuncan) April 2, 2021
Georgia Democrats had a nuanced reaction to the news.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms (D) predicted more blows to come.
Just as elections have consequences, so do the actions of those who are elected. Unfortunately, the removal of the @MLB All Star game from GA is likely the 1st of many dominoes to fall, until the unnecessary barriers put in place to restrict access to the ballot box are removed.
— Keisha Lance Bottoms (@KeishaBottoms) April 2, 2021
A “disappointed” voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams expressed pride in MLB for its stance on the law.
Disappointed @MLB will move the All-Star Game, but proud of their stance on voting rights. GA GOP traded economic opportunity for suppression. On behalf of PoC targeted by #SB202 to lose votes + now wages, I urge events & productions to come & speak out or stay & fight. #gapol
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) April 2, 2021
The Georgia voting law, among other things, restricts and complicates absentee voting, gives the GOP legislature significantly more power over county and state election officials and, infamously, makes it illegal for any non-poll worker to give voters food or water while they wait in line. It has already garnered three lawsuits, the most recent of which alleges that the law will make it harder to vote particularly for “voters of color, new citizens, and religious communities.”
The law comes on the heels of major Democratic inroads in the state, with President Joe Biden winning its electoral votes and Sens. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Raphael Warnock (D-GA) netting its Senate seats in a critical runoff election.