Former President Barack Obama on Saturday applauded Major League Baseball for “taking a stand on behalf of voting rights,” after it pulled its All-Star game from Atlanta in opposition to Georgia’s new restrictive voting law.
“Congratulations to @MLB for taking a stand on behalf of voting rights for all citizens,” Obama wrote in a tweet on Saturday morning.
Congratulations to @MLB for taking a stand on behalf of voting rights for all citizens. There’s no better way for America’s pastime to honor the great Hank Aaron, who always led by example.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 3, 2021
The praise comes after the MLB said it would relocate its July 13 game slated to take place in Atlanta after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed legislation last week that voting rights advocates have said could restrict access to the ballot box.
“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,”MLB commissioner Robert Manfred Jr. said in a statement announcing the decision on Friday.
President Joe Biden who previously called the bill “Jim Crow in the 21st century,” similarly signaled his endorsement during an ESPN interview earlier this week that he would “strongly support” moving this year’s All-Star Game out of Georgia in the wake of the controversial bill’s passage.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also weighed in on Saturday morning, saying the new “racist voter suppression laws” were causing damage to both Georgia voters and the state’s economy.
“Georgia Republicans should be ashamed,” he said.
Racist voter suppression laws are now hurting Georgia's voters AND its economy.
Georgia Republicans should be ashamed.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) April 3, 2021
Former 2018 Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams who has become an outspoken force for voting rights activism said she was “disappointed” by the game’s relocation but ultimately commended the MLB for speaking out.
“Like many Georgians, I am disappointed that the MLB is relocating the All-Star game however I commend the players, owners and League commissioner for speaking out,” Abrams said in a Friday statement. “I urge others in positions of leadership to do so as well.”
Former President Donald Trump has meanwhile urged his supporters to “boycott baseball” and “woke companies” who have come out in opposition to the new law.
Trump famously perpetuated false claims around voter fraud in Georgia and is now embroiled in a criminal probe into attempts efforts to overturn 2020 election results in Georgia led by the Fulton County district attorney’s office.