Major League Baseball on Monday hit back at a lawsuit over its decision to move its All-Star game out of Atlanta in response to Georgia’s restrictive voting law by dismissing it as “political theatrics.”
Last week, the Job Creators Network (JCN), a conservative advocacy group, asked a New York federal court judge to force the MLB to move its All-Star game back to Atlanta. JCN argued that the MLB should pay $100 million in damages to local businesses in Georgia in light of relocating its All-Star game to Denver. The lawsuit lists MLB, Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred, the MLB Players Association and MLBPA executive director Tony Clark as defendants.
In a court filing Monday, MLB knocked JCN’s lawsuit as “political theatrics.”
“JCN has been vocal in opposing MLB’s decision, but that does not give it a basis for federal civil rights claims,” lawyers for MLB wrote in Monday’s filing. “Moreover, despite its claims of exigency, JCN spent the last two months putting up billboards in Times Square and running inflammatory advertisements in The New York Times. When its publicity campaign had no effect, JCN decided to sue, but this Court’s time should not be wasted on political theatrics.”
“There is no emergency that justifies the extraordinary relief JCN seeks,” MLB added.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, JCN is set to reply to MLB’s court filing on Tuesday. A hearing is also scheduled Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York regarding JCN’s demand for an injunction.
“It is in the public interest for Defendants’ decision to move the All-Star Game to Denver to be upheld, thereby protecting Defendants’ right to demonstrate their values and preserving their freedom as private entities to determine where to hold their events,” MLB’s legal brief stated.
In a statement on Monday, JCN attorney Howard Kleinhendler said that small businesses in Georgia “certainly don’t feel as if” the conservative advocacy group’s lawsuit is “political theatrics,” according to AJC.
Last April, MLB commissioner Robert Manfred Jr. announced that the All-Star Game would no longer take place in Atlanta following Georgia’s enactment of a new restrictive voter law. Restrictive provisions of the new Georgia voting law include new ID requirements for mail voting, limits on dropbox use and banning the distribution of food and most beverages to voters waiting in line.
Republicans were quick to cry “cancel culture” over MLB’s decision.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) accused the MLB of submitting to “fear and lies” by depriving Georgians of a paycheck after it decided to pull its All-Star Game out of Atlanta.
“Major League Baseball caved to fear and lies from liberal activists,” Kemp said at a news conference in response to the MLB’s decision. “In the middle of a pandemic, Major League Baseball put the wishes of Stacey Abrams and Joe Biden ahead of the economic well-being of hard-working Georgians who were counting on the All-Star Game for a paycheck.”
Republicans also called for boycotts of corporations that have spoken out against Georgia GOP lawmakers’ restrictive voting law.
Shortly after the CEOs of Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines came out against the Georgia law, state Republicans voted to revoke a tax break from Delta and called for the removal of Coca-Cola products from the state house.