A growing number of Republican lawmakers are calling to end Major League Baseball’s antitrust exemption over its decision to relocate this year’s All-Star Game from Georgia.
The MLB announced last week that it will no longer hold its July exhibition game in Atlanta in response to a slew of new voting restrictions approved by Republican lawmakers last month.
“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,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.
“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,” the statement said. “In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States. We proudly used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.”
The league has not yet announced a new host city.
GOP threatens revenge:
South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan called to end MLB’s decades-long antitrust exemption “in light of @MLB's stance to undermine election integrity laws.”
“An overwhelming bipartisan majority of Americans support requiring an ID to vote, and any organization that abuses its power to oppose secure elections deserves increased scrutiny under the law,” he tweeted.
Utah Sen. Mike Lee agreed with the congressman, questioning why the MLB still has antitrust immunity.
“It’s time for the federal government to stop granting special privileges to specific, favored corporations—especially those that punish their political opponents,” he tweeted.
“EXACTLY right,” tweeted Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, vowing to “END MLB’s antitrust immunity.”
Georgia governor slams decision:
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp defended the state’s sweeping new voting law and slammed the MLB for its decision, which could cost the state $100 million.
“Yesterday, Major League Baseball caved to fear and lies from liberal activists,” he said at a news conference last week. “In the middle of a pandemic, Major League Baseball put the wishes of Stacey Abrams and Joe Biden ahead of the economic well-being of hard-working Georgians who were counting on the All-Star Game for a paycheck.”