A small business advocacy organization is calling for an about face after Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert Manfred, Jr. said last week that the All-Star Game and MLB Draft slated to occur in Atlanta, Georgia would be relocated.
The announcement came as an expression of opposition to election-related legislation recently approved in the Peach State: "Over the last week, we have engaged in thoughtful conversations with Clubs, former and current players, the Players Association, and The Players Alliance, among others, to listen to their views. 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," Manfred said in a statement.
But Job Creators Network (JCN) President and CEO Alfredo Ortiz in a letter to Manfred called for the relocation decision to be reversed, writing that the move would deprive Atlanta of millions of dollars in tourism revenue and that the Georgia legislation "makes it easy to vote and hard to cheat." The MLB dumped Atlanta and has shifted instead to the city of Denver, Colorado.
"The local government in Georgia — the predesignated location for the event — estimates the exit will amount to a loss of $100 million in tourism spending," Ortiz wrote. "For small businesses that have disproportionately suffered through government-imposed pandemic lockdowns over the past year, the financial loss is a punch to the gut and will have an outsized impact on minority-owned businesses. As Sen. Tim Scott points out in a tweet, Atlanta has a majority African American population, while Denver boasts a nine percent make-up. Your decision is punishing the very group you claim to be defending. We demand that you reverse the decision," the letter declares.
The letter links to a tweet from South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, a black Republican, who wrote that "Atlanta is 51% black" and "Denver is 9.2% black."
"On behalf of our members, JCN demands you reconsider your decision and return the All Star game back to the Peach State," the JCN letter says. "Don't let activist groups weaponize America's pastime to push radical ideas that MLB fans don't support."