Last summer, Major League Baseball pulled its All-Star Game out of Atlanta in protest over a Georgia election integrity law. Commissioner Rob Manfred made this decision after President Joe Biden endorsed the idea of MLB relocating the event in an interview with ESPN.
Biden dubbed the idea of Georgia requiring state-issued ID for absentee voting and limiting drop boxes as Jim Crow 2.0. and Jim Eagle and Jim Crow on Steroids. (I prefer the latter nickname for giggles.)
In response, Manfred sent a message that MLB does not stand for “voter suppression.” That was the perception. However, the reality is that Manfred and MLB didn’t accomplish anything positive with its stunt. The decision to leave Atlanta has proven foolish and counterproductive.
As anyone who researched the law had argued, Georgia is not suppressing voters. In fact, voting turnout has never been higher than right now. On Friday, Georgia officials counted 857,000 early ballots for 2022, three times as many as in the state’s primary election in 2018.
Not exactly Jim Ostrich, now is it?
MLB branded its decision to pull out of Georgia as a fight against racism. And that sure sounded good at the time.
Yet two years later, the move has proven only to cost black-owned companies in Atlanta the booming business period that emanates from hosting an All-Star event. In addition, MLB sent that business to Colorado, a state with more stringent voting laws than Georgia.
As we at OutKick explained recently, “That decision not only affected fans around the country who had made travel arrangements to attend the All-Star Game, but it devastated the local Atlanta community, which had looked forward to the hefty bump in commerce that the event inevitably brings.”
What do Manfred and MLB have to say about the decision now? Unfortunately, we can’t say for certain. MLB has not responded to OutKick’s numerous requests for comment on the matter. If we hear back, we will update this story.
This is a tale of a larger trend that sees major corporations act irrationally out of fear. There was never any evidence that the Georgia voting law would hold back voters, particularly black Georgians as the press declared it would. But that was the talking point, the consensus narrative. And that spreads pressure.
Manfred reacted to the faux headline that Georgia was suppressing black voters. Meaning, MLB took a stand against not the reality but the narrative.
Public figures are so afraid of the mob that they make abrupt decisions to shield themselves from the wrath.
“You can’t call us racist, we moved our All-Star Game out of the GOP-controlled Georgia,” Manfred probably envisions one day saying to protect his image.
So in a way, the decision wasn’t for nothing. Manfred showed the media and politicians which side he is on. For him, what comes with joining the team may justify unnecessarily punishing the city of Atlanta.