Major League Baseball on Monday opposed a demand by a conservative small business group that it returns next month’s All-Star Game to Atlanta, after moving the game in response to Georgia’s restrictive new voting law.
MLB and league commissioner Rob Manfred accused the Job Creators Network of “political theatrics” in filing a $1 billion lawsuit over their decision to move the July 13 game to Denver’s Coors Field from Truist Park outside Atlanta.
The defendants said the group could not show its members were injured or had their civil rights violated, and said moving the game served the public interest by protecting baseball’s ability to “demonstrate its values as a sport.”
Job Creators Network did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
MLB’s players’ union and its executive director, Tony Clark, both named as co-defendants, also opposed a preliminary injunction to move the game back to Atlanta and said they had no role in deciding where it should be played.
MLB and its players’ union made their arguments in filings in Manhattan federal court. A hearing is scheduled for June 10 before U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni.
Georgia’s new voting law added identification requirements for absentee ballots, limited drop boxes, and made it a crime to give water and food to people waiting on line to vote.
Opponents have said the law was designed to suppress voting by Blacks. It was signed in March by Republican Governor Brian Kemp.
In its May 31 complaint, Job Creators Network is also seeking a $100 million fund for harmed Georgia businesses, accusing MLB of violating 150-year-old civil rights law designed to combat the Ku Klux Klan.
But MLB quoted Job Creators network president Alfredo Ortiz as saying on June 1 that if MLB established the fund that the lawsuit sought it would be “fine” if the All-Star Game was not returned to Atlanta.
The case is Job Creators Network v Office of the Commissioner of Baseball et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 21-04818.