The MLB responded this morning to a lawsuit filed over the league’s decision to move the 2021 All-Star game from Atlanta to Denver. The league made that decision on April 2nd in response to Georgia’s election law.
The 21-page lawsuit, which was filed by small-business advocacy organization Job Creators Network (JCN), was brought forward last Monday in federal court. The suit demands the immediate return of the game to Atlanta as well as $100 million in damages to local and state small businesses. The suit is also seeking $1 billion in punitive damages.
MLB, the MLB Player’s Association (MLBPA), Commissioner Rob Manfred and MLBPA executive director Tony Clark are named as defendants in the suit.
“MLB robbed the small businesses of Atlanta — many of them minority-owned — of $100 million, we want the game back where it belongs,” said CEO of the Job Creators Network Alfredo Ortiz in a statement. “This was a knee-jerk, hypocritical and illegal reaction to misinformation about Georgia’s new voting law which includes Voter-ID. Major League Baseball itself requests ID at will-call ticket windows at Yankee Stadium in New York, Busch Stadium in St. Louis and at ballparks all across the country.”
The league responded to the suit in a court-filing earlier today, calling the litigation ““the latest step in a publicity campaign” led by a “conservative advocacy group.”
“JCN has been vocal in opposing MLB’s decision, but that does not give it a basis for federal civil rights claims,” wrote lawyers for the MLB. “Moreover, despite its claims of exigency, JCN spent the last two months putting up billboards in Times Square and running inflammatory advertisements in The New York Times. When its publicity campaign had no effect, JCN decided to sue, but this Court’s time should not be wasted on political theatrics.”
The player’s association also opposed the All-Star game litigation in a separate filing, calling it “political theater.”
JCN’s reply to Monday’s filings is due Tuesday, according to the court.