A small business advocacy group sued Major League Baseball on Monday over its decision to pull the 2021 All-Star game out of Atlanta, Georgia.
Job Creators Network sued the MLB, Commissioner Rob Manfred, MLB’s players union, and union executive director Tony Clark in a federal court in New York about two months after Manfred announced that the MLB was boycotting Georgia over election reforms. The MLB’s decision came days after President Joe Biden endorsed the league and other corporations wading into Georgia politics.
“MLB robbed the small businesses of Atlanta – many of them minority-owned – of $100 million, we want the game back where it belongs,” Job Creators Network president and CEO Alfredo Ortiz said in a statement. “This was a knee-jerk, hypocritical, and illegal reaction to misinformation about Georgia’s new voting law which includes Voter-ID. Major League Baseball itself requests ID at will-call ticket windows at Yankee Stadium in New York, Busch Stadium in St. Louis, and at ballparks all across the country.”
“Small businesses in this community had valid contracts relating to the All-Star Game and other events, the result of two years of planning and all that was ripped away by fear and misinformation spewed by political activists. Many states, including Colorado where the game has been moved, have similar or more restrictive election laws,” he continued. “This move essentially tells fans of teams in many other cities that they can never again host the All-Star Game; it’s hypocritical, illegal, and we won’t stand for it.”
Commissioner Manfred announced on April 2 that the MLB would move its 2021 all-star game and draft out of Atlanta following passage of the state’s new voting reforms. The league picked a new host city, Denver, later that month.
“Over the last week, we have engaged in thoughtful conversations with Clubs, former and current players, the Players Association, and The Players Alliance, among others, to listen to their views,” Manfred said, announcing the Georgia boycott. “I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft.”
Georgia stands to lose tens of millions of dollars in lost economic opportunities because of the MLB’s decision. Holly Quinlan, president and CEO of Cobb Travel and Tourism, said that relocating the MLB All-Star game out of Georgia would cost her county about $100 million in revenue from tourism.
The MLB boycott came after a number of prominent Democrats pushed false claims about the Georgia election reforms, such as claiming that the reforms restricted voting access for Georgians. The claim was repeated by Biden, as well as failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp ripped the MLB for pulling out of Georgia during an April interview on Fox News.
“It’s unfortunate that Major League Baseball has caved to the cancel culture, and quite honestly, President Biden and Stacey Abrams and a lot of other people are simply lying about this bill to pressure these organizations,” Kemp said. “This is just a cancel culture, and I’ll tell you, the people at home should be scared because their ballgame is next, their business will be next, their way of life will be next. It is time to stand up and fight this and say, ‘look, we’re not going to take this anymore.’ It’s ridiculous.”