ATLANTA, GA – When Major League Baseball decided to pull the 2021 All-Star game from the city of Atlanta over political decisions made by state leaders, it marked the third time in recent history when a major professional sports league move a big game.
It happened once in the NBA and once in the NFL.
NBA hall of famer and Dodgers minority owner Magic Johnson, who saw the same thing happen in his own sport in 2016, applauded the league’s decision.
“I want to applaud and extend a thank you to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred for moving the All Star Game out of Georgia following the Governor’s signing of the new restrictive voting law. Way to be a leader and take a strong stance,” Johnson said.
The other two times pro sports moved big games over political decisions happened in 1991 and 2016.
According to Major League Baseball, in the summer of 2016, the NBA moved the location of its 2017 All-Star Game (held the following February) from Charlotte to New Orleans in objection to North Carolina House Bill 2, which limited anti-discrimination protections in the state.
The league also pointed out that in March 1991, NFL owners voted to move the 1993 Super Bowl from Phoenix to Pasadena, Calif., after Arizona voters elected not to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day a paid holiday. Arizona eventually recognized MLK Day and was awarded a Super Bowl in 1996 and again in 2008.
Dusty Baker, one of the sports most veteran African-American leaders agreed with the league’s decision.
“I think it’s great the league is going to properly honor Hank Aaron no matter where the game is played,” Baker said. “My opinion is it’s a positive move by Major League Baseball to support voting rights. That was a pretty big and bold move by baseball, and I’m proud of the fact they stood by the voting rights of people. This is what Hank would have liked. Even though [the 2021 All-Star Game] was in his town, he always had the rights of the people in the forefront of his mind and his heart.”
Major League Baseball has not announced the new location for the all-star game.
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