Opinion: The gutless Atlanta Braves put themselves on the wrong side of history

If you want to know what courage looks like, look at Major League Baseball right now. They saw the naked, jingoistic racism of voter suppression in Georgia, and in response, decided to move this year's All-Star game from the state.

"I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport," MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said Friday, "is by relocating this year's All-Star Game and MLB Draft."

That's what guts look like.

If you want to know what total capitulation looks like, what cowardice looks like, what the wrong side of history looks like, what running scared looks like, what you will use as an example to your kids of how not to act, look no further than the Atlanta Braves.

After baseball released its statement, the Braves released theirs, and I'm surprised they were able to use a laptop with their fingers shaking so much from fear of the voting suppression extremists.

“This 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 statement said. "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 issues that are important to our community. Unfortunately, businesses, employees, and fans in Georgia are the victims of this decision."

This isn't just tone deaf. Look up tone deaf in the dictionary and there are the Braves smoking a cigarette.

First, the idea that Atlanta has always been a "uniter" shows a level of historical ignorance that is stunning from people who should know better. Atlanta may have been the center of the civil rights movement but to say it has always been a "uniter" is a farce. No city in the South has always been a "uniter." No city in America has.

Second, their statement is acceptance of the racism of the new voting restrictions enacted by Republicans. There's no other way to look at it. Either you are for democracy or you are not.

You will hear all the coded language and lies about "cancel culture" and other nonsense, but what baseball did was position itself on the side of true American values. 

This is an existential crisis and the Braves failed to meet the moment.

But Manfred did and his actions can be a call to action for everyone.


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