Voting rights activist and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams tried to keep the Major League Baseball 2021 All-Star Game in the city of Atlanta, a journalist with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The new information contradicts Gov. Brian Kemp’s allegation that Abrams and President Joe Biden caused the game to be relocated out of Atlanta because they had “spent days lying to Georgians and the American people.”
Political reporter Greg Bluestein tweeted on April 7, “I’m told that @staceyabrams spoke to an @MLB senior adviser and “strongly” urged the league to keep the All-Star game in Atlanta before the decision to yank the event.”
Baseball commissioner Robert Manfred announced last week that the All-Star Game would be relocated from Atlanta as a response to Georgia’s new restrictive voting laws. SB 202 was signed into law by Kemp last month.
The controversial legislation, which has been likened to Jim Crow-era laws by Biden, imposes voter identification restrictions for absentee ballots, including the requirement of an ID to vote absentee by mail, limits both the amount of time voters have to request an absentee ballot and where ballot drop boxes can be placed, and makes it illegal to approach voters in line within 150 feet of the polling place and provide them with food or water.
The All-Star Game will now take place in Denver, Colorado. The relocation has been estimated to mean the loss of $100 million in potential revenue for Atlanta businesses.
Kemp blamed Abrams and Biden for MLB’s “knee-jerk” reaction while speaking at the Georgia State Capitol on April 3.
“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. If the left doesn’t agree with you, facts and the truth do not matter,” Kemp said.
“The truth is that Joe Biden hasn’t read the bill and Stacey Abrams is raising millions off the fake outrage that she has created,” he added.
But according to Bluestein, Abrams spoke to a senior league official other than commissioner Robert Manfred prior to the announcement of the relocation, and reiterated that she fears boycotts could hurt the state economically. Amid the controversial laws, some activists called on people to boycott Georgia-based corporations that hadn’t spoken out against the bill.
Bluestein also noted that Abrams had argued against a boycott in a USA Today op-ed before the MLB’s decision was announced.
“Instead of a boycott, I strongly urge other events and productions to do business in Georgia and speak out against our law and similar proposals in other states. They should also intentionally hire the targets of SB 202 — young people, people of color and minimum-wage workers who want to elect leaders to fight for their economic security. I again repeat my admonition from 2019 that leaving us behind won’t save us. Bring your business to Georgia and, if you’re already here, stay and fight. Stay and vote,” Abrams wrote.
Abrams wrote on Twitter following he announcement, “As I have stated, I respect boycotts, although I don’t want to see Georgia families hurt by lost events and jobs.”
She continued, “Georgians targeted by voter suppression will be hurt as opportunities go to other states.”
Bills with restrictive voting provisions are being introduced across the country. As of March 24, there were 361 bills that would restrict voting introduced by legislators in 47 states.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued an administrative order to counter the effects of the restrictive legislation in Atlanta. The order directs to chief equity officer “to mitigate the impact of new voting restrictions imposed,” through voter education initiatives.