When Major League Baseball moved its 2021 All-Star Game away from Atlanta in response to Georgia’s Election Integrity bill, the decision was applauded by the usual array of Democrats — former gubernatorial candidate-turned-voter rights activist Stacey Abrams, former President Barack Obama — as Major League Baseball “taking a stand on behalf of voting rights for all citizens.”
In reality, the move was nothing more than an attempt to appease the Left, which absurdly claimed the bill was “Jim Crow on steroids.”
A conservative advocacy group — The Job Creators Network — is fighting back against the decision, filing a suit in federal court on Monday against Major League Baseball, commissioner Rob Manfred, and the MLBPA (players union). The suit seeks $100 million in damages for local businesses, $1 billion in punitive damages, and for the All-Star Game to return to Georgia.
“MLB robbed the small businesses of Atlanta — many of them minority-owned — of $100 million, we want the game back where it belongs,” Alfredo Ortiz, president and CEO of the Job Creators Network, said in a statement. “This was a knee-jerk, hypocritical and illegal reaction to misinformation about Georgia’s new voting law which includes Voter-ID. Major League Baseball itself requests ID at will-call ticket windows at Yankee Stadium in New York, Busch Stadium in St. Louis and at ballparks all across the country.”
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, where the headquarters for MLB and the Players Association are located.
On Monday, MLB called the lawsuit “political theatrics” in an official court filing.
“JCN has been vocal in opposing MLB’s decision, but that does not give it a basis for federal civil rights claims,” lawyers for MLB wrote in Monday’s filing. “Moreover, despite its claims of exigency, JCN spent the last two months putting up billboards in Times Square and running inflammatory advertisements in The New York Times. When its publicity campaign had no effect, JCN decided to sue, but this Court’s time should not be wasted on political theatrics.”
In a statement on JCN’s website, the group points out that moving the game has had a major impact on the city of Atlanta and its small businesses.
The group claims that more than 8,000 hotel reservations were canceled after the game was moved, revenue from ticket sales, concessions, and events surrounding the game was lost, and that there are roughly 7.5 times more African-American businesses in Georgia than Colorado — the state in which the game was relocated to after the decision to remove the game from Atlanta.
“Small businesses in this community had valid contracts relating to the All-Star Game and other events, the result of two years of planning and all that was ripped away by fear and misinformation spewed by political activists. Many states, including Colorado where the game has been moved to, have similar or more restrictive election laws,” Ortiz said on the website. “This move essentially tells fans of teams in many other cities that they can never again host the All-Star Game; it’s hypocritical, illegal and we won’t stand for it.”
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