Head Copy Editor
The sports and political environment of Atlanta has been in a frenzy this month. At the end of March, the Georgia state government passed a widely-condemned law, making voting in the state unnecessarily difficult, including removing ballot drop-off locations and requiring more paperwork and identification. This has been referred to as the modern Jim Crow laws and blatant, anti-democratic voter suppression, specifically for these policies targeting people of color. This has resulted in nationwide backlash, total boycotts of the state, and more, and the sports world has absolutely been a part of this.
The biggest result of these events, obviously, is the complete redoing of the MLB’s All-Star Game. The midseason celebration of the best baseball players in the league, held over the summer, was originally planned to be hosted in Atlanta. However, on April 2, the MLB announced they would be withdrawing all All-Star festivities from Atlanta and Georgia in general due to these new voter suppression initiatives, with Denver being a rumored backup choice. This was applauded almost immediately and praised by everyone outside of the city. The only group criticizing the MLB for this was Atlanta’s own baseball team, the Braves. It is unclear whether they condemned the All-Star switch due to the lost economic revenue, or because team leadership actually does support these new Jim Crow laws, as their statements have remained mostly neutral.
However, the sports world as a whole doesn’t seem to be on the same page. While this withdrawal was ongoing, The Masters golfing tournament was played in Atlanta with a ‘business as usual’ attitude, never commenting on the political controversy or boycott. This, in turn, has drawn comparisons and allusions to golf’s status as an upper-class, disproportionately White sport, and that participants and leaders might support these laws targeting the rights of Black people and other minorities. In addition, other industries have criticized the local government and even supported the boycott, including Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines, both based out of Georgia.
The biggest of these reactions might have come from Hollywood as Will Smith, alongside Apple, decided to remove all production of their upcoming movie out of Georgia, ironically titled Emancipation and heavily focusing on slavery. For those who don’t know, Georgia’s tax incentives and geographic location make them one of the most popular states for movie production and shooting outside of California, so this decision will most likely have massive ramifications. It can only be hoped that these racists, proto-fascist laws are repealed quickly so sports can safely and swiftly return to the state.
Featured Image: Courtesy of mlb.com