Our Founder, Kevin, wrote an excellent article : Assuring free & fair elections is not racist…But allowing illegal voting/schemes IS racist!. It is too long to post here, but definitely read it as you will gain a better context for this open letter.
Open Letter to MLB: Where is the same courage as Branch Rickey?
We’d like to take a quote directly from the MLB website:
“On April 15, 1947 he stepped onto Ebbets Field, home of the Dodgers, as their first baseman thus officially ending the color barrier in baseball. It was a moment of great pride for the African-American community. Of the over 26,000 attending the game that day, 14,000 were African-American. Robinson did not disappoint. In his first season, he was named the first ever Rookie of the Year and hit .297, scored 125 runs and stole 29 bases. His play was a large factor in the Dodgers winning that year’s National League title.
As Branch Rickey predicted, despite Robinson’s stellar play, he endured a great amount of verbal abuse from fans. And the abuse was not restricted to fans. Opposing players hurled verbal insults at Robinson but they also played rough and employed tactics that many saw as outside the bounds of acceptable play. But there were Major Leaguers who accepted and encouraged Robinson. In 1948, Robinson’s teammate Pee Wee Reese came to his aid during a game in Cincinnati where the fans were especially ruthless. Reese simply walked over, put his arm around Robinson and looked out at the crowd. This show of solidarity proved that Robinson was accepted by his teammates and should be by those who came and watched the game.”
Ironically, in a few days from now on April 15 it will have been 74 years ago that the MLB began to unravel segregation in sports. Jackie Robinson and Rickey made a small step for man, but a huge step for this country.
Where has that courage gone?
Instead of Major League Baseball (MLB) moving venues and threatening Georgians, they should redouble efforts to expand services in Georgia. The MLB alone was destined to bring over $190,000,000 in commerce during the MLB All-Star festivities; this represents tens of thousands of employment opportunities for Georgians! The Georgia employment segment is made up of majority-minority; blacks are the overwhelming majority of minority employment in Georgia. This means blacks are disproportionally harmed by MLB and other companies who think it’s more important to socially preen about being “woke,” instead of encouraging even more safeguards for voters. If MLB were truly concerned about helping and supporting black lives, they would applaud the changes in Georgia voting laws that ensure every legal vote’s accuracy. They would expand to even more venues in Georgia!
With Georgia’s notable vote irregularities of the past, there’s little doubt many blacks saw nullification of their collective will. The surprising truth is: any illegal vote creates voter disenfranchisement (generally), but due to the ratio as a percentage of the population, vote fraud imposes a disproportionally negative effect on Black life (especially Black life in urbanized, poor communities).
It is incredibly disheartening that the historical stance against segregation taken by Major League Baseball is going to be sullied by this cowardly move to withdraw from Georgia. The same organization that fought it’s way against national sentiment against black people, has turned their back on supporting civil rights.
Why? Why would the MLB lose their courage?
Because the MLB has aligned themselves with the same people who decried voter disenfranchisement in past elections now not only tolerate but applaud apparent irregularities and a lack of transparency that took place in past Georgia elections. While Georgia voters were seemly disenfranchised, many of those same people want to ensure “irregular” voting schemes continue perpetually.
As the late Branch Rickey, Dodger’s Manager that signed Jackie Robinson, said “Let’s not get panicky.”
MLB , we ask you to reconsider your decision. The example you are setting does not benefit the disenfranchised communities you have worked so hard to engage and empower. Personally we think both of these men would be disappointed if you didn’t.