Activist groups opposed to Georgia’s new law tightening voter ID requirements are urging golfers to pull out of the Masters Tournament and pushing for Major League Baseball to move the All-Star Game from Atlanta as part of a broader boycott movement that has been simmering since the governor signed the Republican-sponsored legislation Thursday.
The law, decried by Democrats as racist — President Biden on Friday called it “Jim Crow in the 21st century” — includes some new restrictions on voting by mail, limits the window in which absentee ballots can be requested, and cuts the number of locations and times ballot drop boxes can be accessed.
But Georgia Republicans, led by Gov. Brian Kemp, have staunchly defended the new voting measures as fair and urged critics to “find out what’s in the bill, versus just this blank statement of this is Jim Crow or this is voter suppression.”
The outcry over the new law, though, is real.
MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark told the Boston Globe that he “would look forward” to discussing a change in All-Star Game venues away from Georgia. The All-Star Game is set to be held July 13 at the Braves’ Truist Park.
“Players are very much aware,” Clark said. “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.”
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who is coming off a World Series title, also said he would consider declining the invitation to manage the National League squad if MLB doesn’t change the location of the game.
“I will certainly consider it,” Roberts said. “I don’t know enough about it right now. But when you’re restricting — trying to restrict — American votes, American citizens, that’s alarming to me to hear it. As we get to that point and we know more, I will make a better decision. But I do think that if it gets to that point, it will certainly be a decision I have to make personally.”
The National Black Justice Coalition, a civil rights organization, has expressed to the PGA that the Masters should be moved away from the iconic Augusta course.
“Georgia’s new law restricting voting access is designed to turn back the clock on civil rights, and return Black and poor and already disenfranchised voters in Georgia to second class citizens,” NBJC executive director David Johns said in a statement to Golfweek. “This is an unacceptable attack on our democracy and companies that operate in Georgia must speak out against this restrictive law.
“The PGA Tour and Masters Tournament have both made commitments to help diversify golf and address racial inequities in this country — and we expect them to not only speak out against Georgia’s new racist voter suppression law — but to also take action,” NBJC Executive Director David J. Johns said.
Other critics and activists have targeted Georgia-based firms like Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines and Home Depot to put pressure on the state’s lawmakers.
Delta, in particular, drew fire after its CEO Ed Bastian issued a statement praising some elements of the new law.
“The legislation … expands weekend voting, codifies Sunday voting and protects a voter’s ability to cast an absentee ballot without providing a reason. For the first time, drop boxes have also been authorized for all counties statewide and poll workers will be allowed to work across county lines,” Bastian said.
That statement didn’t sit well with outspoken political commentator Keith Olbermann, who tweeted to his followers: “Do not fly Delta. Do not spend money with Delta. Boycott Delta. Ruin Delta.”
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