President Joe Biden on Wednesday said he would "strongly support" moving the Major League Baseball All-Star Game out of Atlanta in response to Georgia’s newly passed voting law that critics say restricts voting access.
"I think today’s professional athletes are acting incredibly responsibly," Biden told ESPN’s Sage Steele in an interview. "I would strongly support them doing that. People look to them. They’re leaders."
Biden’s comments joined a growing chorus of voices that have called on the MLB to move its marquee summertime game out of Cobb County, as part of a larger effort to boycott organizations headquartered in the state that have remained silent on the voting rights issue, as well as major sporting events, including golf’s annual Masters Tournament.
The new law would add an ID requirement to absentee ballots, shorten runoffs in the state after two high-profile Republican losses and strip the secretary of state from the state election board.
In response to those calls, the CEOs of Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola, both Atlanta-based companies, condemned the law Wednesday, calling it "unacceptable."
Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey told CNBC it was "a step backwards," while Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a company memo that it did "not match Delta’s values."
In the ESPN interview, Biden criticized the law and the impact it would have on voters.
"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."
While Georgia’s law was passed last week, GOP-dominated statehouses across the country are weighing similar legislation that could potentially restrict voting access.
The All-Star Game is scheduled for July 13 at the Atlanta Braves’ Truist Park. At the time the game was awarded, the Atlanta Braves organization said: "This is a tremendous honor for our organization and we are incredibly proud to be able to host this Midsummer Classic for the fifth time." Last year’s game was canceled for the first time since 1945 due to Covid.
MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark told the Boston Globe last week that the players were "very much aware" of what was going on in Georgia, and that the association "would look forward to having that conversation" about moving the event.