As we’ve seen over the past 12 months, the intersection of sports and social issues remains as strong and important as it has ever been. Moreover, when it comes to racial justice and the importance of treating Black Americans as truly equal citizens, Major League Baseball comes to the minds of many because of integration and the arrival of Jackie Robinson. The sport cannot hold Robinson up as the icon he was and then turn their backs on long-lasting dark side of the legacy his presence was meant to fight against.
That is to say, there would be nothing unusual about the Major League Players Association taking up against Georgia’s new voter restrictions law, which many believe is directly targeted at limiting accessibility to Black voters in the state. With MLB’s All-Star Game scheduled for Atlanta this summer, this is going to be a conversation:
In wake of Georgia voter suppression legislation, MLBPA exec director Tony Clark says players ready to discuss with MLB moving the All-Star Game out of Atlanta.
Also, Clark on LeBron James and FSG.
Plus, CBA talks:https://t.co/hzKeyB7jFA
— Michael Silverman (@MikeSilvermanBB) March 26, 2021
“Players are very much aware” of the Georgia voting bill, which places restrictions on voting accessibility that will make it particularly difficult for Black voters to reach the polls, said Tony Clark in an interview with the Globe. “As it relates to the All-Star Game, we have not had a conversation with the league on that issue – if there is an opportunity to, we would look forward to having that conversation.” …
A Los Angeles Times column on Thursday called for MLB to move the All-Star Game out of Atlanta.
In 2016, the NBA decided to move its 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte, N.C., a reaction to a bill enacted by the state that limited anti-discrimination protections.
In explaining the decision, the league said it was acting on its “long-standing core values,” which “include not only diversity, inclusion, fairness and respect for others but also the willingness to listen and consider opposing points of view.”
Generally, we don’t see MLB get this directly involved in political activities that aren’t tied to their own labor interests (e.g., lobbying efforts to ensure that minor league baseball players were not subject to minimum wage provisions). But if the players, who have been increasingly urging along their own power in this system, push for a real conversation on this topic, I’m not sure how MLB ignores the subject entirely.
We’ll see what becomes of this conversation, and what happens as the new law faces legal challenges.