April 23, 2021
I know from personal experience that protest has its costs. But by banding together we can stop those who would subvert democracy
Republicans want Black people to disappear. Sports leagues can help stop them
Athletes, politicians and even corporate America have been speaking out about the recent Republican-led legislation in Georgia that seems to target Black citizens by making it harder for them to vote. But for all the sabre-rattling, finger-wagging and stern letter-writing, it was Major League baseball who actually took direct action on 2 April by moving their All-Star Game from Georgia to Colorado, stating, “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.” Republican senators Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley and Mike Lee – three of Donald Trump’s most notorious sock puppets – immediately tried to punish the league’s defense of democracy by proposing legislation to remove MLB’s antitrust exemption. Didn’t work. But their unspoken threat to all professional sports leagues who may wish to join the fray loomed large.
After years of bullying their athletes for their passive protests, most sports teams became “woke” following last summer’s massive Black Lives Matter marches of between 15 and 26 million people, the largest protests in US history. It was a glorious phoenix-like ascension of sports leagues to the heights of social morality. Today, we need that commitment more than ever, because if there were ever a case of Black lives not mattering, it’s the nearly 250 laws since the November election that have been passed around the country designed to marginalize Black voters. It’s time for all sports leagues – who are supposed to embody the American ideals of teamwork, fair play and level playing fields – to join as one voice to represent their players, their fans and their Constitution in stopping this attempt to steal democracy.
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