Report: MLB inks deal to expand presence in China – while pulling All-Star Game out of Atlanta

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NEW YORK CITY, NY – Major League Baseball is facing major criticism for its decision to maintain a controversial partnership with China while moving its All-Star Game out of the state of Georgia.

The organization announced Friday that it would pull the All-Star game out of Atlanta because of a new voting law passed in the state. The decision came just 24-hours after MLB signed a contract with streaming service Tencent, a Chinese company tied to the Communist Party.

Tencent is one of China’s largest tech companies. The company also contracts with the NBA to stream their games in China. In 2019, the company blocked games played by the Houston Rockets after General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

The NBA came under increased attack from critics after sending an apology to the Chinese government.

MLB has also penned a deal with Oriental Pearl New Media, a state-run media outlet based in Shanghai. The deal will allow the 2021-23 baseball season to be broadcast on cable television in China.

The move by MLB to build its presence in China at a time when diplomatic ties with the United States are strained, and after the All-Star game’s relocation, has led to significant blowback from fans and politicians.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said Friday that the decision to pull the game from Atlanta was to demonstrate the league’s values:

“I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft. fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”

The former Secretary of State under the Trump administration said that MLB is choosing China over the state of Georgia. In a tweet, Mike Pompeo wrote:

“Georgia’s laws don’t comport with @MLB ‘values,’ but China’s do?”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) called MLB officials hypocrites:

“MLB caves to pressure & moves draft (and) All-Star Game out of Georgia on the same week they announce a deal with a company backed by the genocidal Communist Party of China. Why are we still listening to these woke corporate hypocrites on taxes, regulations, and anti-trust?”

In another tweet, Sen. Rand Paul said called MLB’s actions a “boycott” of Georgia:

“Your sports league might be a little too woke if it will freely do business with Communists in China and Cuba but boycotts a US state that wants people to show an ID to vote.”

The spat between MLB and Georgia erupted after Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed a new voter law that added new identification requirements for absentee voting, limited the use of drop boxes, granted more authority over elections to lawmakers, and made it a misdemeanor crime to give food or drink to voters waiting in lines at polling places.

The Governor attacked MLB for the decision during a press conference Saturday:

 “Major League Baseball caved to the fears and lies of liberal activists. They ignored the facts of our new election integrity law and they ignored the consequences of their decision on our local community.

“They don’t care about jobs. They don’t care about our communities and they certainly don’t care about access to the ballot box.”

The White House said President Joe Biden supported MLB’s decision to move the All-Star Game out of Georgia:

“The President has made his concerns about the bill passed in Georgia clear, given its extreme provisions that impact the ability of so many citizens to cast their votes. He said earlier this week that if the decision was made by MLB to move the All-Star game, he would certainly support that decision – and now that MLB has made that choice, he certainly does.”

The President’s predecessor, however, called for a boycott of MLB. In a statement released by Save America PAC, Donald 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.

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

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LET Unity

Georgia governor blasts MLB for moving All-Star Game, saying league ‘caved to fear’ and ‘liberal lies’

April 3, 2021

 

 ATLANTA, GA – Gov. Brian Kemp (R) slammed the decision by Major League Baseball (MLB) to move this year’s All-Star Game out of Georgia because of a controversial voting bill passed last month.

Kemp issued a statement saying MLB “caved to fear, political opportunism, and liberal lies”:

“Georgians – and all Americans – should fully understand what the MLB’s knee-jerk decision means: cancel culture and woke political activists are coming for every aspect of your life, sports included. If the left doesn’t agree with you, facts and the truth do not matter.

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

Former Georgia Representative Stacey Abrams called the Georgia voting law “racist” and a “redux of Jim Crow in a suit and tie”:

“The secretary of state and the governor went to great pains to assure America that Georgia’s elections were secure.

And so the only connection that we can find is that more people of color voted, and it changed the outcome of elections in a direction that Republicans do not like.

“And so, instead of celebrating better access and more participation, their response is to try to eliminate access to voting for primarily communities of color.

And there’s a direct correlation between the usage of drop boxes, the usage of in-person early voting, especially on Sundays, and the use of vote by mail and a direct increase in the number of people of color voting.”

The Governor said that he had spoken to officials with the Atlanta Braves organization and that they “do not support” the move made by MLB. The Braves issued a statement on their Twitter account Friday:

“The Atlanta Braves are deeply disappointed by the decision of Major League Baseball to move its’ 2021 All-Start Game. This decision was neither our decision, nor our recommendation and we are saddened that fans will not be able to see this event in our city.

“The Braves organization will continue to stress the importance of equal voting opportunities and we had hoped our city could use this event as a platform to enhance the discussion.

Our city has always been known as a uniter in divided times and we will miss the opportunity to address issued that are important to our community.

“Unfortunately, business, employees, and fans in Georgia are the victims of this decision.”

The All-Star Games is being moved out of Atlanta after MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Friday that the move is 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.”

 

 

 

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