More metro Atlanta fallout from MLB’s All-Star Game relocation

April 6, 2021 Cobb County: New Order National Human Rights Organization national chairman, Kyle Jones (left) and founder, Gerald Rose (right) record a video near the recently dismantled All Star sign at Truist Park on Tuesday, April 6, 2021. A Cobb County-based Civil Rights Organization says moving Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game out of Georgia was the right call, regardless of the economic impact to local businesses. New Order National Human Rights Organization gave their latest update on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 in front of Truist Park in Cobb County regarding Major league baseball relocating the All Star from Atlanta. The organization said they realized that the Governor has responded to cancelation of the all Star game here in Atlanta and as a national human rights organization gave their response to the game being moved out of Atlanta. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)
April 6, 2021 Cobb County: New Order National Human Rights Organization national chairman, Kyle Jones (left) and founder, Gerald Rose (right) record a video near the recently dismantled All Star sign at Truist Park on Tuesday, April 6, 2021. A Cobb County-based Civil Rights Organization says moving Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game out of Georgia was the right call, regardless of the economic impact to local businesses. New Order National Human Rights Organization gave their latest update on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 in front of Truist Park in Cobb County regarding Major league baseball relocating the All Star from Atlanta. The organization said they realized that the Governor has responded to cancelation of the all Star game here in Atlanta and as a national human rights organization gave their response to the game being moved out of Atlanta. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

The leaders of a Cobb-based human rights organization on Tuesday called on local solicitors to not prosecute violations for a provision of Georgia’s new voting law that criminalizes handing out water and food to weary voters and praised Major League Baseball for moving its All-Star Game out the state.

“It’s not all about the money,” said Gerald E. Rose, founder and CEO of New Order National Human Rights Organization at a press conference at the Atlanta Braves’ Cobb County stadium. “It’s all about being right. It’s about being wrong.”

About 100 feet away, a piece of the sign that had hung next to Truist Park’s scoreboard sat on a flatbed trailer. It read “Atlanta ALL-STAR,” and had been removed on Monday, the first business day after MLB’s decision.

The local fallout from the removal of the All-Star Game, which will now be played in Denver, Colorado, has taken many forms. Some of the state’s largest and most influential companies have publicly scolded Georgia lawmakers for the legislation.

Explore Politics, calls for MLB All-Star boycott vex Cobb leaders

The Gwinnett County solicitor has already said he will not prosecute anyone arrested feeding or providing water for voters standing in line, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms signed an executive order on Tuesday that calls for the city’s chief equity officer to develop a plan to expand access to voting.

Georgia’s new law also includes an ID requirement for mail-in votes, restricts ballot drop boxes and expands weekend voting in some cases.

Supporters of the Republican-backed law say it restores integrity to the election system. Others have criticized it for impeding minority access to the ballot box.

Before league’s Friday announcement about moving the game, Coca Cola and Delta Air Lines condemned the law after being threatened with boycotts for not initially speaking out loudly enough against it; President Joe Biden called it Jim Crow on steroids; and Dave Roberts, manager of the World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers, who is supposed to lead MLB’s All-Star National League team, said he might not play in the game if it remained in Georgia.

“Pressure came down, and that’s why the game was cancelled,” Rose said.

Gov. Brian Kemp signed the law on March 25. On Friday, he accused the league of caving to liberal pressure.

Cobb’s solicitor told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday that he didn’t make the laws, but was ethically obligated to enforce them.

“The General Assembly determines what conduct constitutes a violation of the law, it is our duty to enforce the laws they establish,” said Cobb County Solicitor Barry Morgan in a statement. “We will review these cases on a case by case basis, as we do with all violations of Georgia Law, and seek justice in each case as we are mandated by our ethical requirements as a prosecutor.”

New Order’s Tuesday press conference was held within hours of MLB’s official announcement that Denver’s Coors Field would host the Midsummer Classic, a move that immediately began eliciting commentators comparisons between Georgia’s absentee and early voting rules to Colorado’s.

ExploreMLB moves All-Star game out of Georgia over voting law

New Order Chairman Kyle Jones, an unsuccessful candidate for DeKalb County Sheriff in 2020, who previously served as DeKalb police department’s fraud and financial crimes unit commander, also spoke on Tuesday. Both Jones and Rose said that they regretted that the game’s relocation would cost local businesses.

“This wasn’t created by this organization,” Jones said. “We are asking them (businesses) to hold their state elected officials accountable.”

Cobb Travel and Tourism estimated over the weekend that MLB’s decision would mean local businesses would miss out on $100 million in revenue, according to a Channel 2 Action News story.

The AJC has previously reported that economists have criticized sports promoters for giving inflated projections about the economic impact of major sporting events.

Cobb Travel and Tourism officials have yet to say how they arrived at that the $100 million number.

Kennesaw State economics professor J.C. Bradbury said the lack of disclosure hasn’t kept both Republicans and Democrats from using the figure to their advantage.

“Both sides of the political spectrum were quick to jump on it because they could make a point the other side was creating economic damage,” he said.

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