Major League Baseball made the decision to move the 2021 All-star Game out of Atlanta because of the new Georgia voting laws. This is absolutely the right decision, but I have to admit to being a little surprised. It’s been a long time since Jackie Robinson, and in my experience, MLB can’t even make the easiest right decisions without months of hemming and hawing. This is the league that effectively blacklisted the only black player to kneel during the National Anthem before last summer. This is the league that needed Congress to get involved before doing anything about PEDs. (There’s something very wrong if Congress is out ahead of you on an issue.) This is the league that tries to police the way black players use the N word. But, credit where it’s due, MLB got it right this time and relatively quickly.
In response to MLB’s decision, the Atlanta baseball team realeased this:
This response is fascinating in how bad it is. We’ll ignore the fact that the writing is objectively terrible. Copy editors everywhere must have freaked out. (Its’? What on Earth does I, T, S, apostrophe mean?) Let’s start with the fact that they didn’t have to say anything at all. Lots of people and organizations have wrong ideas, but they don’t get ridiculed because they keep them to themselves. That’s always an option. But, I do recognize that teams often feel the need to comment on things involving their players or stadium. This reminds me of the statements that get released in the wake of a domestic violence suspension. Except, at least they pretend to be against domestic violence and support the league’s decision in those statements.
In this case, they are flat out saying that they disagree with MLB on this decision. If you’re disagreeing with someone who is saying that racial justice and voting rights are important, you are saying that they are not important. Obfuscate as you will, there’s no getting around this. There’s no way they can start with their deep disappointment and come out on the right side. Then, they say that the organization with the obviously racist name, symbol, and cheer, “will continue to stress the importance of equal voting opportunities.” Continue? Seriously? Were they out campaigning with Stacey Abrams? Were they lobbying against the voter suppression laws?
Then, they go on to say that they were hoping to use the All-star game in their city, “as a platform to enhance the discussion,” of voting rights. There is no discussion, or at least there shouldn’t be. The issue of whether minorities, women, and poor people should be able to vote was decided decades ago. And, even if there were still a discussion to be had, how would doing absolutely nothing enhance that discussion? I can just imagine Rosa Parks saying, “We will not protest or boycott. We will continue to sit in the back of the busses peacefully. That way we can enhance the discussion about Jim Crow.” It’s (or should it be its’) insane.
Finally, they try to paint themselves and the people of Georgia as victims. That’s a lot like saying cops are the real victims of police brutality or bosses are the real victims of workplace harassment. I don’t even know what to say except I feel really bad for anyone dumb enough to believe any of this. I’ve never been a fan of the Atlanta baseball team, but wow. It’s like they said, “You think you hate the Astros and Yankees. Watch this.”
So, good job MLB. You made the right decision. And, if there are any decent Atlanta fans, find a different team to root for. This one is clearly not worth your time or money.