If you want to see just how badly workers in the US get screwed over, just look at how baseball players are treated

A baseball flying through in the air with red dollar signs threading at its seams on a purple background
Minor League Baseball conditions are causing players to speak out.

  • Earlier this month, minor league baseball players nearly had to sleep in their cars because of low pay and no housing.
  • That’s part and parcel for how minor leaguers are treated around the industry.
  • The way baseball treats workers is symptomatic of the way American labor is treated across industries.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

On June 15, player advocacy group Advocates for Minor Leaguers called out the Baltimore Orioles for their treatment of Double-A affiliate the Bowie Baysox.

Baysox players, Advocates for Minor Leaguers tweeted, were “considering sleeping in their cars” because the team wouldn’t pay for housing and the cost of a hotel would come to 80% of their two week paycheck after taxes.

Hours later, players were informed that the price was now actually half of what they had been initially told to expect. Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias denied to the press that the players had ever been in danger of sleeping in their cars, telling reporters that was just “not accurate.”

It’s hard to take that denial seriously, however. Minor League players have been subjected to mistreatment and poor pay for decades. Congress codified that maltreatment in 2018, including a provision in the $1.3 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act that exempts teams from having to pay minor leaguers overtime or for spring training. The deck is stacked against minor league players, who are fighting for an elusive chance to make it to the majors and a real paycheck.

This is the American way. Around the country, workers are subjected to poor conditions, worse pay, and sold unrealistic promises of better futures. Rich owners of baseball teams deny their employees in the minors adequate pay and shelter despite the relatively low cost of doing so – just like billionaires like Jeff Bezos overwork and underpay their employees in other industries.

Food and Shelter

Minor League players face difficult working conditions, Advocates for Minor Leaguers executive director Harrison Marino told me. Most players make about $15,000 a year – seasonal pay that comes with a contractual obligation to perform services all year. Many, if not most, minor leaguers have to find other jobs in the offseason just to make ends meet while they continue to train.

Housing is extremely difficult given the rung-by-rung movement of most minor leaguers towards the majors and for the pittance they are paid. While teams pay for player accommodations on the road, players are expected to provide for themselves and find housing as needed when playing at home. This presents myriad issues, not least that a player can bounce around from city to city as they advance in their career because a team’s affiliates will not be all in one region.

For instance, a player in the San Francisco Giants organization would in theory have to travel from its Low-A affiliate team – the first rung on the minor league ladder – in San Jose to its High-A team in Eugene, Oregon (562 miles away) to its Double-A team in Richmond, Virginia (a 2,873 mile trip), and finally to the Triple-A team in Sacramento (a 2,783 mile trip). All while finding new housing every time they move up (or down) levels.

The food situation is often hardly better. On June 1, Advocates for Minor Leaguers posted photos from Oakland Athletics minor leaguers showing their post-game meals: a cheese sandwich from May worthy of the infamous Fyre Festival and, more recently, what appeared to be an attempt at a taco. The A’s claimed they had ended the relationship with the vendor, “several weeks ago.”

There’s not much players can do.

“Because players are tied to their MLB club for seven seasons, they can’t seek a better deal with a different club,” Marino told me. “When it comes to MLB teams’ treatment of Minor League players, it really is a race to the bottom.”

America’s Game

Because of its monopolistic position over the sport of baseball, Major League Baseball is the only viable buyer for baseball player labor. That gives the league outsized power and control over its labor pool to an extent most other companies can only dream of. In practice, this means a relationship between worker and boss that is tilted overwhelmingly toward the powerful.

Minor leaguers have faced an extreme version of that relationship for decades. Steve Hamilton, a major leaguer, told Studs Terkel in 1974’s “Working” that the unbalanced relationship between players and owners was even harder on the players in the minors – who didn’t, and don’t, have a union, unlike major league players.

“They insist on knowing you as a thing,” said Hamilton. “It’s easy for them to manipulate.”

Reflecting Pool

Poor treatment and low pay are endemic in nearly every US industry, and the tension between how workers are treated and business owners are compensated has become more and more apparent in recent years. Conversations around income inequality that exploded into the mainstream more than a decade ago have matured and begun to target the systemic underpinnings of the American economic system.

Baseball isn’t even the worst offender. The gig economy, particularly driver services like Uber and Lyft, has led to a less stabilized and less secure workforce even as the people at the top of those companies rake in profits. Hourly pay for a driver at Uber – like Minnesota Twins pitcher Randy Dobnakout did before getting signed – comes to a little under $10 an hour after taxes, according to an EPI study; the company further depresses wages by refusing, unless forced, to provide benefits for workers.

Companies around the country dangle the opportunity of promotions and power in front of workers in order to entice them into dead-end jobs because, technically, the possibility exists that they can advance – though only around 10% will. But for the majority of working people in the US, the American dream seems barely worth imagining.

No wonder, then, that there’s a labor shortage. The service industry is facing severe difficulty in getting people to return to work, and the response from many restaurateurs and caterers is to call for an end to COVID-related unemployment benefits. The song remains the same: for bosses and owners, the workers are disposable, whether they’re short order cooks, drivers for Uber, or minor league baseball players,

“Baseball occupies a unique position in our cultural landscape,” Marino said. “For the past 150 years, labor relations in baseball have both reflected and shaped labor relations in the United States more broadly.”

Today, conditions are better than they were in the past – the plight of the Minor League players notwithstanding. But the deck is still stacked against workers, just as it is across almost every industry in America.

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US stocks trade mixed with Nasdaq at a record high as investors weigh recovery signals

Stock Market

US stocks closed mixed on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 making turning lower late in the day while the Nasdaq ended at a record high.

“US stocks are stabilizing as investors are clearly in wait-and-see mode over the current wave of inflationary pressures,” Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda, said in a statement. “Equities have quickly bounced back from last week’s Fed-induced selloff as investors quickly realize interest rates will not move anytime soon.”

Equities were up and down throughout the day, dipping lower after Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic said the central bank could raise rates in 2022, as well as start tapering asset purchases in the near term. He also said higher inflation in the US could last up to nine month.

The US 10-year Treasury note was last at 1.492%. On Tuesday, yields fell 2 basis points, responding to the Fed’s more tempered policy outlook.

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 4:00 p.m. ET close on Wednesday:

Microsoft still has 23% upside potential even after it surpassed a $2 trillion valuation on Tuesday, according to Wedbush analyst Dan Ives. He also increased his price target to $325 from $310 and reiterated his “outperform” rating on the stock.

Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac plunged as much as 45% following a ruling from the Supreme Court. In a 7-2 decision, the court gave the US President authority to remove the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, complicating the prospects for their release from government control.

Meanwhile, the cryptocurrency space has been recovering from its most recent sell-off.

Bitcoin staged a rebound after wiping out all its gains for 2021 at one point the day prior. The world’s largest cryptocurrency climbed as much as 6% to $34,821.53.

Cathie Wood’s ARK ETFs took advantage of last week’s crypto carnage to load up on shares of Coinbase and Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, fund filings show.

Crypto exchange FTX announced it is partnering with Major League Baseball to become the first cryptocurrency exchange sponsor in professional sports.

Oil rose ahead of a meeting of the OPEC+ group next week.

West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 0.48% to $73.20 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, jumped by $0.57% to $75.24 – edging to its highest since late 2018.

Gold slightly rose 0.03% to $1,778.03 per ounce.

Lumber fell as much as 3% to $859.8 per thousand board feet, extending the fall beneath $900 as the commodity’s rally continues to cool off.

Read the original article on Business Insider

FTX partners with MLB to become the first crypto exchange sponsor in professional sports

: Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies watches as he hits a home run against the Washington Nationals during the second inning of a game at Citizens Bank Park on June 22, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Bryce Harper of the Philadelphia Phillies during a game on June 22, 2021.

FTX is partnering with Major League Baseball to become the first cryptocurrency exchange sponsor in professional sports.

The partnership establishes FTX as the official cryptocurrency exchange brand of the baseball organization.

The latest initiative aims to increase brand awareness for FTX and to continue brand innovation for MLB. As part of the contract, FTX will be able to exercise worldwide marketing rights associated with MLB logos.

“It’s an honor for FTX to be the first cryptocurrency exchange to be associated with the history and tradition of America’s national pastime,” Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX founder and CEO, said in a statement Wednesday.

The financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

In addition, FTX.US, a US-regulated cryptocurrency exchange, will become MLB’s first-ever umpire uniform patch partner starting on July 13.

This isn’t the first time 29-year-old Bankman-Fried dipped his toe into sports.

Under his leadership, Blockfolio, the cryptocurrency app that FTX acquired in 2020, won naming rights to the NBA’s Miami Heat arena until 2040.

The $135-million deal, inked earlier this year, overtook American Airlines as the leading sponsor for the Florida sports team.

Read the original article on Business Insider

21 famous athletes who retired earlier than expected

calvin johnson
Calvin Johnson still seemed to have plenty of good years left when he retired in 2016.

  • Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly was the most recent NFL star to retire before 30 years old.
  • Throughout sports history, there have been professional athletes who have retired earlier than expected, often because of injuries.
  • Check out some examples of athletes who have called it quits relatively early.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
1. Luke Kuechly

luke kuechly
Luke Kuechly.

Sport: Football

Age retired: 28

Years as a pro: 8

One thing to know: Kuechly was a seven-time Pro Bowl member and five-time First Team All-Pro. However, Kuechly often battled injuries, including numerous concussions. In his retirement announcement, Kuechly hinted at injuries taking their toll, saying, “I still want to play, but I don’t think it’s the right decision.”

2. Andrew Luck

andrew luck
Andrew Luck.

Sport: Football

Age retired: 29

Years as a pro: 7

One thing to know: Luck was considered a generational quarterback prospect when he entered the NFL in 2012, but injuries and weak teams only allowed him to show off that talent occasionally. Luck played just 38 games from 2015-2018 because of injuries, and when he retired on Saturday, said he was mentally worn down from pain, rehab, and setbacks.

3. Rob Gronkowski

rob gronkowski
Andrew Luck.

Sport: Football

Age retired: 29

Years as a pro: 9

One thing to know: Gronkowski might have gone down as the greatest tight end ever if not for injuries. Gronk dominated every time he was on the field, but various ailments kept him off it, as he only played 15 games or more four times in his career. After rumors of retirement persisted for over a year, Gronkowski followed through in the spring of 2019. However, some think he could still be lured out of retirement.

4. Doug Baldwin

Doug Baldwin
Doug Baldwin.

Sport: Football

Age retired: 30

Years as a pro: 8

One thing to know: Baldwin was Russell Wilson’s favorite target for several years, topping 1,000 yards twice, including a 14-touchdown season in 2015. Injuries added up throughout 2018, and despite finishing the year with over 600 yards and 5 touchdowns in 13 games, he called it quits in 2019.

5. Brandon Roy

brandon roy
Brandon Roy.

Sport: Basketball

Age retired: 29

Years as a pro: 6

One thing to know: Roy was one of the NBA’s best guards and rising young talents when he ran into persistent knee problems. He initially retired in 2011 after just five years with the Portland Trail Blazers but came out of retirement after one year to play for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2012-13. He played only five games that year before injuring his knee again, and the team waived him at the end of the season. He decided to hang up his jersey for good afterward.

6. Sandy Koufax

Sandy Koufax
Sandy Koufax.

Sport: Baseball

Age retired: 30

Years as a pro: 12

One thing to know: Koufax is widely regarded as one of the best pitchers in MLB history. He was seemingly playing his best ball before he retired, posting a 1.7 ERA with 5 shutouts and winning the Cy Young Award in 1965, his final season. However, chronic pain from injuries forced him to end his playing career in 1966.

7. Patrick Willis

patrick willis
Patrick Willis.

Sport: Football

Age retired: 30

Years as a pro: 8

One thing to know: One of the most dominant linebackers in the league, Willis managed just six games in his final season because of injuries. He announced he would retire the next offseason, saying he couldn’t get over pain in his feet. He was a five-time All-Pro member.

8. Bobby Orr

bobby orr
Bobby Orr.

Sport: Hockey

Age retired: 31

Years as a pro: 12

One thing to know: One of the best defensemen in NHL history, Orr took a beating during his career. After leaving the Bruins, where he built a legendary career, he managed just 26 games in two seasons with the Blackhawks. He retired in 1979.

9. Bjorn Borg

bjron borg
Bjorn Borg.

Sport: Tennis

Age retired: 26

Years as a pro: 12

One thing to know: Borg was described as a rockstar on and off the court for his looks and icy demeanor during his sharp rise through the tennis world. It was a shock, then, in 1984, when Borg decided to retire at just 26, after winning 11 grand slams, citing mental burnout. He did attempt to come back in 1991, but was largely unsuccessful on the court and retired again in 1993.

10. Calvin Johnson

Calvin Johnson
Calvin Johnson.

Sport: Football

Age retired: 30

Years as a pro: 9

One thing to know: “Megatron” was the clear-cut best receiver in the NFL for multiple years and still put up 1,200 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2015, his final season. Johnson later admitted he retired because he didn’t feel like the Detroit Lions had a chance to win a Super Bowl and they wouldn’t trade him another team. “For the work I was putting in, it wasn’t worth my time to keep on beating my head against the wall and not going anywhere,” he later said.

11. Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan.

Sport: Basketball

Age retired: 30

Years as a pro: 9

One thing to know: Yes, it wasn’t final, but Jordan’s first retirement was so abrupt that he lands on this list. Jordan was on top of the NBA when he suddenly announced he was retiring to pursue a baseball career, spurring conspiracy theories. Of course, he would return in less than two years, play three more seasons, retire again, come back again as a member of the Wizards for two seasons, before then retiring for good.

12. Jim Brown

jim brown
Jim Brown.

Sport: Football

Age retired: 29

Years as a pro: 9

One thing to know: One of the first “shocking” retirements in sports, Brown was an eight-time rushing champion and NFL MVP in 1965, his final season. He decided to go out while on top, though he was also busy filming “The Dirty Dozen” and pursuing other business interests that conflicted with the NFL schedule.

13. Bo Jackson

bo jackson royals
Bo Jackson.

Sport: Football, baseball

Age retired: 28 (football), 31 (baseball)

Years as a pro: 4 (football), 8 (baseball)

One thing to know: Considered one of the best athletes of all-time, Jackson managed to play two sports at once, playing football with the Oakland Raiders when the MLB season ended. Jackson suffered a career-ending hip injury in the 1990 NFL season, then returned to baseball to play two more years, but was not the same player. He retired for good in 1994.

14. Yao Ming

yao ming
Yao Ming.

Sport: Basketball

Age retired: 30

Years as a pro: 9

One thing to know: Yao’s time in the NBA was relatively short, though it came after a stellar career in China. An instant-celebrity by the time he arrived in the NBA, Yao also excelled on the court, averaging 19 points and 9 rebounds per game in eight full years in the league. Unfortunately, chronic foot injuries ended his career early.

15. Ken Dryden

ken dryden
Ken Dryden.

Sport: Hockey

Age retired: 31

Years as a pro: 8

One thing to know: Dryden had a decorated career in just seven seasons as a full-time goalie: a Conn Smythe Trophy winner, five-time Vezina Trophy winner, six-time champion, and three-time leader in save percentage. He ultimately decided to move onto other things and wrote several books, did commentary, and worked as a GM after retiring.

16. Barry Sanders

barry sanders
Barry Sanders.

Sport: Football

Age retired: 31

Years as a pro: 10

One thing to know: Sanders was still at the top of his game when he decided to step away from football. He had rushed for over 2,000 yards just two seasons before. But Sanders later said that he had been pondering retirement at the beginning of the 1998 season (his last) and decided to step away from football afterward, despite being just 1,400 yards away from the all-time rushing record.

17. Chris Borland

chris borland
Chris Borland.

Sport: Football

Age retired: 24

Years as a pro: 1

One thing to know: A first-round pick who put up solid numbers as a rookie, Borland famously retired after one season, citing concerns about brain injuries and trauma. He now works with former NFL players and military veterans who suffer from traumatic injuries.

18. Dave Nilsson

dave nilsson
Dave Nilsson.

Sport: Baseball

Age retired: 30

Years as a pro: 8

One thing to know: Nilsson put together the best season of his career in 1999, batting .309 with 21 homers and 62 RBIs, making an All-Star team, then hitting free agency. Instead of cashing in, he turned down big-money offers from MLB teams to return home to Australia to play in the 2000 Olympics. He played professional in Australia afterward, but never returned to MLB.

19. Earl Campbell

earl campbell
Earl Campbell.

Sport: Football

Age retired: 31

Years as a pro: 8

One thing to know: Campbell began his career by leading the NFL in rushing three years in a row. Injuries played a part in a decline that resulted in a trade from the Houston Oilers to the New Orleans Saints in 1984. He retired in 1985, clearly no longer the same player.

20. Isiah Thomas

isiah thomas
Isiah Thomas.

Sport: Basketball

Age retired: 33

Years as a pro: 13

One thing to know: Thomas wasn’t terribly young to retire, but not many greats go out at 33, either. Thomas’ final season was the first and only time he didn’t make an All-Star team, but he still averaged a solid 15 points and 7 assists per game. He tore his Achilles in his final game, which made his decision easier, though he later said he had made up his mind to retire before the injury occurred.

21. Tiki Barber

tiki barber
Tiki Barber.

Sport: Football

Age retired: 32

Years as a pro: 10

One thing to know: Barber had one of his best seasons in 2006 before he decided to retire, rushing for over 1,600 yards, the third-best number of his career. He went into TV shortly after, and though he filed for reinstatement in 2011, he did not make a comeback.

Now, check out what happened to the other quarterbacks from Andrew Luck’s draft class…

Andrew Luck

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? All the big-name QBs taken with Andrew Luck in the 2012 NFL draft >

Read the original article on Business Insider

Corporate America is still dangerously delusional about what the GOP has become

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) talks to reporters with Sen. John Thune (R-SD) (L) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) following the weekly Senate Republican caucus luncheon in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill March 16, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) talks to reporters with Sen. John Thune (R-SD) (L) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) following the weekly Senate Republican caucus luncheon in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill March 16, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • The GOP corporate America used to know and love is gone.
  • What we have now is an angrier GOP willing to punish companies that disagree with it.
  • It’s un-American, and it has nothing to do with the free market, but apparently the base likes it.
  • That means sorry, the old GOP went out to get a pack of smokes and it ain’t coming back.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Corporations need to hear this, and probably a few half-hearted Republicans do too – former House Speaker John Boehner’s GOP isn’t coming back.

Boehner was perhaps the last leader of a now-dead Republican party we used to know. The one that was born during the Reagan years. The GOP that kept its hands out of the affairs of private enterprise, that championed free speech, that knew how to cut a deal, that you might want to have a glass of Merlot and a cigar with – that GOP’s gone.

Instead we have a GOP that has no problem interfering with private business decisions. Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas, for example, just signed legislation prohibiting private companies from requiring vaccination passports from customers.

Instead we have a GOP that punishes companies that do not share its political beliefs. In Georgia, the state House voted to strip Atlanta-based Delta Airlines of a $35 million fuel tax credit because it spoke out against a law that would make it harder for people to get to the polls. After decades of advocating for corporations to have more political power, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned companies to “stay out of politics,” only to somewhat walk it back after remembering who his donors are.

Some corporations – like Jet Blue, which just restarted donations to Republicans who voted against certification of election on January 6 – are trying to get back to business as usual. Instead they should be getting ready to play defense. With this GOP corporations are likely to become collateral damage as every issue devolves into total culture war.

Yes, the Democrats want to raise corporate taxes, but the Republicans have no problem punishing companies when they stand up for basic functions of our democracy – like easy access to voting – that the party now happens to oppose. That’s the choice for corporations now.

A GOP in need of anger management

All of this stands in contrast to recently published experts of Boehner’s soon-to-be-released memoir – an account of a man watching his party go insane. According to him, in 2010 as the party was radicalizing “a total moron and get elected just by having an R next” to their name.” He described birtherism – the wind beneath the wings of Donald Trump’s political aspirations – as “truly nutty.” All of it, he said, made it nearly impossible to cut deals with the Obama administration.

This isn’t to say that Boehner isn’t partly responsible for what the GOP has become, but it’s telling that he has written a memoir that marks a line in the sand between the GOP he presided over and the one that coalesced under Trump. He knows that the GOP post-Boehner era is an assemblage of everything that pushed him out of Washington on steroids.

Part of what Trump added to the “truly nutty” was pure rage. In an excerpt published by Punchbowl News, Boehner said after he shared a round of golf with Trump, it was the future president’s anger that stood out to him the most. A staffer accidentally told Trump and Boehner the wrong names of two men playing golf with them. Boehner shrugged it off, but Trump eviscerated the staffer publicly in a way that took Boehner aback.

“We had no idea then what that anger would do to our country,” Boehner wrote.

Even with Trump gone, the politics of anger he brought to the fore has remained with the GOP. We are just getting a sense of how it is settling in our politics now, and corporations will not be left unscathed. Politically motivated consumer boycotts have been an American pastime for both parties for generations, but today’s GOP has shown a willingness to dole out legislative punishment to corporations for what should be relatively uncontroversial political statements in ways we have not seen before in this nation, embracing the totality of “you’re either with us, or you’re against us.”

This is not just a phase

Right now the GOP and corporate America have a similar problem with Biden’s proposed infrastructure and tax legislation – the ideas are popular. A Reuters poll found that 79% of Americans support a government overhaul of American roadways, railroads, bridges, and ports. 71% support a plan to get high speed internet to everyone. Over 65% support replacing lead pipes and creating tax credits for green energy.

Americans are also supportive of raising corporate taxes. A Pew Research poll found that 62% of Americans are bothered “a lot” by how little tax corporations pay. That is to say, headlines about Biden raising corporate taxes in order to improve America’s airports are unlikely to upset many Americans.

Now, corporations will try to deal with this problem the the traditional way – by sending their lobbyists to Capitol Hill.

But the GOP has found another way to deal with the disconnect between its policies and their popularity – by staying laser focused on anger and never-ending culture war. Fox News has launched two new shows centered around cancel culture because that’s what excites its viewers. And the loudest GOP politicians with the most obvious aspirations for the presidency have decided that punishing corporations for being on the “wrong side” of any hot button issue is a political win with their base.

That is why corporations should get used to the reality that this is not just a phase. The Republican party requires a major adjustment to go back to what it was. Instead it is becoming more populist and more radical.

If you want to know in what direction the GOP is headed, look no futher than a man who will go anywhere the wind is blowing – Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Once a protege of the Bush family, now his social media is chockablock with culture war video rants that sound like an audition for a primetime slot on Fox News. Recently he blasted Major League Baseball for the league’s decision – triggered by the aforementioned voting law – to move their All-Star Game out of Atlanta. Rubio decided to hit back at MLB by ranting about its business dealings in China and Cuba, obviously lacking the self awareness to realize that at this very moment, the Chinese Communist Party is harassing companies for their political and human rights stances as well.

The GOP may not raise corporate taxes, but it now behooves it to attack corporate interests in other ways. Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley – a young man who has had quite a lot of success fundraising after helping to incite the January 6 Capitol riot – tweeted about punishing “woke” companies using antitrust legislation to break them up. I needn’t tell you that punishing companies for taking a political stance is not what anti-trust legislation is for.

This is the direction the Republican party is moving in. Remember that it did not present a platform during the 2020 presidential election. It did not reiterate a belief in the free market or free speech or small government or democracy. All it had was Donald Trump, and the anger that blew John Boehner and his GOP away. It’s time to come to terms with that.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp claims the MLB’s voter restriction laws boycott will be a major blow to minority-owned businesses

Brian Kemp
Gov. Brian Kemp (R-Georgia) speaks during an April 3 news conference in Atlanta about Major League Baseball’s decision to move the 2021 All-Star Game over the league’s objection to the state’s new voting law.

  • Georgia Gov. Kemp criticized the MLB for withdrawing its All-Stars game from Atlanta.
  • The MLB decided in response to new voter restriction laws in Georgia.
  • Kemp said the boycott would unfairly impact minority-owned businesses.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp said that a decision by Major League Baseball to move an All-Stars Game from Atlanta in protest at voter restriction laws will disproportionately impact minority-owned businesses.

Kemp made the remarks following the MLB’s decision last Tuesday to pull the game from Atlanta and instead have it played in Denver, Colorado.

The voting rules signed into law by Kemp in March have been likened by critics to the Jim Crow laws that enforced segregation in the South, who say that disproportionately impacts Black voters.

Kemp has defended the laws, claiming they ensure election security, and has pointed to Democrat-controlled states where they are more restrictive. And in comments Saturday he criticized the MLB for the stance it has taken.

“It’s minority-owned businesses that have been hit harder than most because of an invisible virus by no fault of their own,” Kemp said, as quoted by the Associated Press. “And these are the same minority businesses that are now being impacted by another decision that is by no fault of their own,” he added.

The claim that the MLB’s boycott, and opposition to the voting laws by corporations including Coc-Cola and Delta, will end up damaging Black communities economically has emerged as a key Republican response to criticism of the laws.

Last week former Fox News personality Eric Bolling stormed out of a BBC interview when challenged about the argument by political commentator Aisha Mills.

But Democratic activist and gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who is credited with devising the strategy that allowed the Democrats to flip the state in 2020, has also reportedly opposed the decision by the MLB to pull the game out of the state.

According toAtlanta Journal Constitution reporter Greg Bluestein Abrams, a strong opponent of the voter restriction laws, spoke to a senior MLB official last week and urged them not to cancel the game.

Victor Matheson, an economics professor at the College of the Holy Cross, in comments to The Guardian last week questioned said claims by some Atlanta officials that the cancellation could result in the loss of $100 million in revenue were overblown.

“There is some loss, so it’s not zero, but it’s a whole lot closer to zero than the $100m number Atlanta was throwing around,” he remarked.

Read the original article on Business Insider

MLB’s decision to relocate its All-Star Game will cost Georgia $100 million, a tourism official says

Georgia voting
Voters in Georgia. The new voting law has proved divisive.

  • MLB’s move to relocate its All-Star Game will cost state $100 million, according to an official.
  • The loss will further delay recovery from the pandemic, Holly Quinlan told CNN.
  • The league’s decision was likely the “1st of many dominoes to fall,” Atlanta’s mayor said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Major League Baseball’s (MLB) decision to relocate its 2021 All-Star Game could cost Georgia’s economy more than $100 million, a county tourism official has said.

Local hotels were already hit hard by the pandemic, Holly Quinlan, chief executive of Cobb Travel & Tourism, told told CNN.

“The 8,000-plus MLB contracted hotel room nights that will not actualize as a result of the MLB All-Star Game relocation will have a negative impact on Cobb’s hospitality industry and other local businesses, further delaying recovery,” she said.

The league’s decision was likely the “1st of many dominoes to fall,” Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said on Friday.

The divisive election law has led to calls for many calls for boycotts. President Joe Biden called the law a “blatant attack on the Constitution and good conscience.”

Former President Donald Trump, who backs the law, called for fans to boycott MLB. Trump on Saturday added to a list of companies that he’d like his supporters to boycott.

Former ESPN sportscaster Keith Olbermann, meanwhile, called for fans to boycott the Masters golf tournament that begins Thursday at Georgia’s Augusta National Golf Club.

The hospitality industry in Atlanta brings in about $16 billion annually, according to the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau.

That organization issued a statement opposing “any legislation or action that restricts the rights or impacts access for Black, Brown and underrepresented communities to participate in the democratic process.”

It said: “We believe in a fair, accessible and secure election process for all Georgians.”

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Atlanta Mayor says the MLB moving All-Star Game from Georgia ‘is likely the first of many dominoes to fall’ in pushback against new voting law

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

  • Mayor Bottoms said that the MLB’s decision to pull the All-Star Game from Atlanta would hit the area hard.
  • “Just as elections have consequences, so do the actions of those who are elected,” she wrote.
  • GOP Gov. Brian Kemp has lashed out at critics of the controversial new voting bill.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Friday said that Major League Baseball’s decision to move the All-Star Game out of Georgia over its controversial new voting law is “likely” the start of more actions taken against the state.

While speaking out against the law on Twitter, Bottoms emphasized the economic harm that such a backlash will cause throughout Georgia.

“Just as elections have consequences, so do the actions of those who are elected,” she wrote. “Unfortunately, the removal of the MLB All Star game from GA is likely the 1st of many dominoes to fall, until the unnecessary barriers put in place to restrict access to the ballot box are removed.”

She added: “Boycotts in GA will hit the metro Atlanta hardest and have a ripple effect across the state. Small businesses, corporations that support our communities, and everyday working people will suffer. It is not too late to right this sinking ship.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed on Friday that the decision to move the All-Star Game and MLB Draft was “the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport.”

“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,” he said in a statement. “Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.”

Since the law’s passage on March 25, major corporations, including Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola under pressure from politicians and activists, have more forcefully come out against its restrictive measures.

The conservative-backed law tightens election rules in the state by limiting drop boxes, strengthening voter identification requirements, blocking the usage of mobile voting vans, and even banning water and food from being distributed to voters waiting in line, among other measures.

GOP Gov. Brian Kemp, who signed the bill into law, flatly rejects claims that it reinforces voter suppression and said that the law makes it “easy to vote and hard to cheat.”

Read more: Here are 9 hurdles Biden’s infrastructure plan would have to overcome in Congress before it can become law

On Friday, the governor lashed out at MLB’s decision on Fox News, accusing the organization of adhering to “cancel culture.”

Kemp continued to express his displeasure with the situation on Twitter, lashing out at prominent Democrats.

“This attack on our state is the direct result of repeated lies from [President] Joe Biden and [former Georgia state House Minority Leader] Stacey Abrams about a bill that expands access to the ballot box and ensures the integrity of our elections,” he wrote. “I will not back down. Georgians will not be bullied. We will continue to stand up for secure, accessible, fair elections.”

Abrams, who was narrowly defeated by Kemp in the state’s 2018 gubernatorial race and could potentially run against the incumbent governor in 2022, said on Friday that she was “disappointed” by the move but was “proud” of the MLB’s support of voting rights.

“Like many Georgians, I am disappointed that the MLB is relocating the All-Star game; however, I commend the players, owners and League commissioner for speaking out,” she said in a statement. “As I have stated, I respect boycotts, although I don’t want to see Georgia families hurt by lost events and jobs. Georgians targeted by voter suppression will be hurt as opportunities go to other states. We should not abandon the victims of GOP malice and lies – we must stand together.”

Former President Barack Obama on Saturday praised the decision, making a nod to the late baseball icon Hank Aaron, who faced racial threats throughout his professional baseball career.

“Congratulations to MLB for taking a stand on behalf of voting rights for all citizens,” he wrote. “There’s no better way for America’s pastime to honor the great Hank Aaron, who always led by example.”

As of Saturday, MLB has not revealed the new host city for the 2021 All-Star Game.

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Trump is calling for a MLB boycott after the league said it would move its All-Star game out of Georgia. Conservative lawmakers discussed removing the league’s antitrust exemption.

donald trump melania trump
Former President Donald Trump and former first lady Melania Trump.

  • Former President Donald Trump on Friday called for a boycott of Major League Baseball.
  • MLB officials said the league would no longer host its All-Star Game in Atlanta.
  • The move came in the wake of a restrictive voting law enacted in Georgia last week.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Donald Trump on Friday called for a boycott of Major League Baseball, following the league’s decision to move its All-Star game out of Georgia.

The league said on Friday that it would no longer host its 2021 All-Star Game in Atlanta after Georgia passed a restrictive voting law.

In a statement, Trump said: “Baseball is already losing tremendous numbers of fans, and now they leave Atlanta with their All-Star Game because they are afraid of the Radical Left Democrats who do not want voter I.D., which is desperately needed, to have anything to do with our elections.”

He added: “Boycott baseball and all of the woke companies that are interfering with Free and Fair Elections. Are you listening Coke, Delta, and all!”

Coca-Cola and Delta, which both have operations in Georgia, had spoken out against the state’s law.

Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey said the company was “disappointed.” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said the Georgia law was “unacceptable and does not match Delta’s Values.”

In asking fans to boycott baseball, Trump joined other conservative lawmakers and commentators calling for punitive measures against the league.

Sun Trust Park Major League Baseball Atlanta Georgia
Sun Trust Park in Atlanta, Georgia.

Rep. Jeff Duncan on Friday said he’d instructed his staff to draft legislation to remove a federal antitrust exemption for the league. He said MLB officials had sought to “undermine election integrity laws.”

“Why does @MLB still have antitrust immunity?” Senator Mike Lee said on Twitter. “It’s time for the federal government to stop granting special privileges to specific, favored corporations – especially those that punish their political opponents.”

Senator Ted Cruz shared Lee’s statement, adding: “EXACTLY right.”

President Joe Biden earlier in the week had voiced support for moving the game, which was scheduled for July 13. Biden called the new voting law “Jim Crow on steroids.”

“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,” said Rob Manfred, MLB commissioner, in a statement.

The Atlanta Braves in a statement said it was “deeply disappointed” by the league’s decision to relocate.

“Unfortunately, businesses, employees, and fans in Georgia are the victims of this decision,” the team’s statement said.

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Biden backs moving MLB All-Star game out of Georgia over new voting law, which he called ‘Jim Crow on steroids’

Biden
Then-Vice President Joe Biden looks on during Game Three of the 2009 MLB World Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 31, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (

  • 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.

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