- President Joe Biden endorses moving the MLB All-Star game out of Georgia.
- Biden cited the state’s new voting law, which he told ESPN is “Jim Crow on steroids.”
- The law includes a provision banning volunteers from delivering food or drinks to voters in line.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
President Joe Biden on Wednesday said he would “strongly support” moving the MLB All-Star game out of Georgia, citing the state’s controversial new voting law that includes a provision banning volunteers from delivering food or drinks to voters in line.
“I think today’s professional athletes are acting incredibly responsibly,” Biden said to ESPN’s Sage Steele during an interview. “I would strongly support them doing that. People look to them. They’re leaders.”
The All-Star Game is set to occur on July 13 at the Atlanta Braves’ Truist Park.
Biden was critical of the divisive Georgia voting law, which was signed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in late March, during the interview with ESPN.
“Look at what’s happened across the board. The very people who are victimized the most are the people who are the leaders in these various sports, and it’s just not right,” Biden said. “This is Jim Crow on steroids, what they’re doing in Georgia and 40 other states.”
The Election Integrity Act of 2021, the first major election-related legislation passed in Georgia since the 2020 election, has faced a wave of criticism from Democrats, civil rights groups, and activists. Major companies based in Georgia, like Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines, have also spoken out against the law.
MLB players would like to discuss moving the event out of Georgia in the wake of the recent laws, but no conversations with the league have occurred yet, according to MLB Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark.
“Players are very much aware,” Clark told The Boston Globe via ESPN. “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 set to manage the National League All-Star team, told reporters he might not participate in the event if it is played in Georgia.
“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 new law expands early voting, but also requires voters to present identification to vote absentee, places limitations on the use of ballot drop boxes, and condenses the period of time between general elections and runoffs, among other provisions that critics say are restrictive.
Kemp has pushed back against the president’s criticism of the law, stating there is “nothing ‘Jim Crow'” about it.
“It is obvious that neither President Biden nor his handlers have actually read SB 202,” Kemp said. “As Governor, I won’t back down from keep Georgia elections secure, accessible, and fair.”
Grace Panetta contributed reporting.