Baseball enters the battle for the vote

Legendary baseball player Hank Aaron died in January at the age of 86, and legendary baseball player Hank Aaron will receive a posthumous tribute this summer in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. He is the holder of many historical achievements, and for more than three decades he holds the record for most He runs the house Who snatched Babe Ruth in 1973, he suffered the ravages of racism in every step to glory. “If I were white, the entire United States would be proud of me.” He said a year before returning to Ruth. “This is the case for blacks in America. It’s something that you have struggled with all your life. ”His words have not lost their relevance.

The time and venue chosen for the contest, Atlanta, the home of his team, the Brave, could have turned a lot into their seats: Georgia has just passed a new electoral law that has been unanimously denounced by civil rights activists, Democrats, some Republicans and President Joe Biden himself of a remnant of racism. Institutional. There will be no place for this embarrassing moment. Major League Baseball (MLB) decided to move the Games and Aaron Honors to another city in protest against the electoral reform agreed to by Georgia.

With an audience that is whiter and more conservative than other sports, baseball has yet to enter politics

“Over the past week, we’ve had talks with former and current clubs and players, the Players’ Association and Players Alliance, among others, to hear their opinions,” explained MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. “The best way to demonstrate our values ​​as a sport is to change the headquarters of the All-Star Game and Draft From the MLB, “they concluded.

The decision came as a surprise. Followed by a whiter, more reserved and larger crowd than basketball or football, loved in equal measure by conservatives and progressives, baseball has so far remained on the margins of major boycott movements led by the sport against racism. The death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer, who is being tried these days in Minneapolis, marked a turning point.

The condemnation of NBA stars such as LeBron James, Jailyn Brown and Michael Jordan has expanded the protests far beyond basketball. From punishing Colin Kaepernick for starting the famous protest at the knee at the national anthem, the NFL went on to apologize to the players and condemn “racism and the systematic oppression of blacks”. Nascar (National Association of Sequential Car Racing) has banned the Confederation flag from its racing, which is very popular in the south of the country. Now, baseball has taken a side, too.

“The MLB has succumbed to fear, political opportunism and liberal lies,” says Georgia’s Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, who on March 25 approved the electoral reform in response to never proven allegations of fraud in the US election. The new law makes it difficult to access voting by mail, limits the use of polling stations, reduces the ability to vote on Sunday as well as the duration of the second round, and tightens identification requirements, measures that are particularly detrimental to blacks. It is also prohibited to provide food or water to those queuing to vote.

According to Kemp, the law defends the vote and makes fraud difficult. For Biden, this is a “blatant attack on the constitution,” “Jim Crow of the 21st Century,” referring to the norms that institutionalized apartheid and established inequality after the abolition of slavery. Other republican countries have similar laws.

The MLB decision, which has not yet been voted on by the players, is also related to the fear of boycotting the sponsors. Big Atlanta-based companies such as Coca-Cola or Delta Airlines have criticized the Georgia law, leading to the indictment of former President Donald Trump, who urged fans to boycott competition, as he had done before with the NBA and NFL. The change in the situation goes beyond the southern country and responds, according to various analysts, not only to the pressures of activists but also to the generational change in the corporate head and the departure of major donors from the Republican Party since the last elections, a change hastened by Trump’s refusal to accept the result.

While they repeated their defense of the right to vote, the Atlanta Braves lamented the move from the competition. Georgia’s progressive leaders have lamented and criticized Republicans for harming the nation’s economic well-being. Dusty Baker, manager of the Houston Astros and former teammate of Aaron, praised the decision. This is what Hank would have liked to have, even if Atlanta had been his ‘city’. He was “always the rights of people in his heart and mind above everything.”

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