- 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.
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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.