Major League Baseball pulled its summer All-Star Game out of suburban Atlanta on Friday, the first major rebuke to the new Republican-backed elections law in Georgia that particularly curtails voting access in the state’s urban areas.
The decision by the baseball commissioner, Rob Manfred, came after days of pressure from civil rights groups and the Major League Baseball Players Association. The league is the first entity to take significant action in response to the law, which introduced stricter identification requirements for absentee balloting, limited the use of drop boxes and expanded the Legislature’s power over elections.
In a statement, Manfred said that after conversations with teams, players, former stars and players union officials he had concluded that “the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft.”
Baseball said it was finalizing details about new locations for this year’s All-Star Game and the draft.
In a television interview with ESPN ahead of M.L.B.’s opening day on Thursday, Biden said he would “strongly support” moving the All-Star Game out of Atlanta.
Biden, a Democrat, called Georgia’s law and similarly restrictive voting bills that Republicans are advancing in almost every state “Jim Crow on steroids.”
Georgia Democrats had not called for a boycott of the game but were building pressure on Major League Baseball and other Georgia-based corporations to oppose the state’s new voting law.
Stacey Abrams, the titular leader of the state’s Democrats, said Thursday that Georgia companies shouldn’t face boycotts “yet” over the law. Senator Jon Ossoff said there should be no boycott of Georgia or Georgia companies, but that companies upset about the law should “stop any financial support to Georgia’s Republican Party.”
At least one Georgia Democrat, Teri Anulewicz, whose Cobb County district includes the Braves’ stadium, expressed disappointment that it would no longer host the game.
Georgia Republicans have scoffed at the prospect of boycotts. After Coca-Cola objected to the law, David Ralston, the State House Speaker, told reporters he drank a Pepsi, an act of heresy in Coke-dominated Atlanta.
In an interview earlier this week with The Associated Press, Manfred had hinted that he was strongly considering moving the game but declined to make any firm commitments.
“I am talking to various constituencies within the game and I’m just not going beyond that in terms of what I would consider or not consider,” Manfred said at the time.
Tony Clark, the executive director of the M.L.B. Players Association, has said the union was willing to discuss pulling the game, scheduled for July 13 at Atlanta’s Truist Park, the home of the Atlanta Braves.
Joe Drape contributed reporting.