News of Major League Baseball’s determination to drag this summer time’s All-Star Game from Georgia over its sweeping new voting regulation reverberated amongst followers Saturday, whereas Gov. Brian Kemp vowed to defend the measure in courtroom, saying “free and fair elections” are value any threats, boycotts or lawsuits to come back.
The Republican governor mentioned at a information convention that the MLB “caved to fear and lies from liberal activists” when it yanked the July 13 sport from Atlanta’s Truist Park. He added the choice will harm working folks within the state and have long-term penalties on the financial system.
“I want to be clear: I will not be backing down from this fight. We will not be intimidated, and we will also not be silenced,” Kemp mentioned.
“Major League Baseball, Coca-Cola and Delta may be scared of Stacey Abrams, Joe Biden and the left, but I am not,” he mentioned, referring to firms which have additionally criticized the brand new regulation.
Three teams have already got filed a lawsuit over the measure, which incorporates new restrictions on voting by mail and higher legislative management over how elections are run. Critics say it violates the First and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, in addition to elements of the federal Voting Rights Act that say states can not prohibit Black voter participation.
Kemp has insisted opponents have mischaracterized what the regulation does, but Republican lawmakers made the adjustments largely in response to false claims of fraud within the 2020 elections made by former President Donald Trump and his supporters.
Fans, in the meantime, appeared divided on the MLB’s determination.
Patrick Smith, a lifelong Braves fan in Ellisville, Mississippi, mentioned he thinks the MLB made the fitting determination and famous that not taking a stand would have polarized some supporters.
“When governments restrict access to the ballot box, someone has to step in to encourage these entities to roll back those measures,” he mentioned.
Lorre Sweetman, in Kahului, Hawaii, mentioned it was a poor transfer by the MLB as a result of it wasn’t primarily based on the precise new voting legal guidelines however on “political pandering” and misinformation.
Still, whereas some followers upset in regards to the MLB’s determination have referred to as for a boycott of the skilled baseball, she mentioned she is not going to cease watching MLB video games and her three grandsons are nonetheless studying baseball.
“They caved to pressure without considering the message this sends to fans who just want to enjoy the game and support their team,” she mentioned. “We need to take politics out of sports.”
But Dick Pagano, a baseball fan in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, mentioned he is not going to watch or attend any video games this 12 months.
“They shot themselves in the foot,” mentioned Pagano, who mentioned he was disenchanted to overlook the deliberate Hank Aaron celebration through the All-Star Game, since he as soon as noticed him play within the 1957 World Series. Aaron, who performed for the Braves in Atlanta and Milwaukee for many of his profession, confronted in depth hate mail and racism as he closed in on breaking Babe Ruth’s house run document.
Jeffrey Guterman, a retired psychological well being counselor in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who calls himself an beginner baseball historian, mentioned the transfer exhibits baseball altering with the instances.
“I’m surprised when people argue that moving it away from Atlanta is a bad move because it would bring lots of money to the area,” he mentioned. “The question is what costs more, moving the All-Star Game or reinforcing the oppression of votes.”
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred mentioned Friday he made the choice to maneuver the All-Star occasions and the beginner draft from Atlanta after discussions with particular person gamers and the Players Alliance, a company of Black gamers shaped after the loss of life of George Floyd final 12 months. A brand new ballpark for the occasions wasn’t instantly revealed.
Kemp criticized the MLB for not taking motion on voting entry in its house state of New York and mentioned its determination means “cancel culture” is coming for American companies and jobs.
“They’re coming for your game or event in your hometown, and they’re coming to cancel everything from sports, how you make a living, and they will stop at nothing to silence all those,” he mentioned.
Trump additionally blasted the league’s transfer and urged his supporters to “boycott baseball and all of the woke companies that are interfering with Free and Fair Elections.”
Former President Barack Obama, in the meantime, congratulated the MLB for its determination.
“There’s no better way for America’s pastime to honor the great Hank Aaron, who always led by example,” he mentioned.
Anderson reported from New York, and Willingham reported from Jackson, Mississippi. Associated Press author Colleen Slevin in Denver contributed.
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