We can add another former MLB player to the list of people who just don’t see the big picture.
Those who disagreed with the league’s decision to remove the All-Star Game from Atlanta were of the “keep politics out of sports crowd.”
While those people are entitled to their opinion, it’s a bit concerning at this point that they haven’t realized that “politics” (however you want to define it) and sports have always been entwined.
There’s no avoiding it. It’s embedded in the history of the game.
So when Georgia passed its controversial voting bill (led by a Republican charge) that does its best to suppress the opposition from making their way to the polls, you’d be ignorant to assume there wouldn’t be backlash on a grander stage.
But for former New York Yankees pitcher David Wells, he’s simply done with the sport and MLB’s latest move sealed the deal for him.
Here’s what he had to say on Fox News Radio’s “The Brian Kilmeade Show”:
"“I’ve had a lot of dealings with Rob Manfred back in my playing days, and I never liked the guy. To me, how do you change the games, the dynamics, and hurt a city like Atlanta that really needs some income in that situation? I mean, Atlanta’s a great place to play baseball. … I don’t watch baseball anymore, Brian. I refuse to watch it because of this. I don’t want no part of it, and this was my life … For me not to want to go to a baseball game or even watch, it kills me, because I don’t put up with that kind of crap, and I don’t condone it.”"
Wells, a famous Trump supporter who was at the White House for a campaign rally last year, has been outspoken about politics on social media as of late, which just feels like a double standard.
MLB can’t respond to a political decision as a private organization, but Wells, a former athlete, can freely speak his mind and call “bullsh-t”?
Perhaps a history lesson could serve us all well? Many have called the new voter law in Georgia “racist” because of the people it specifically targets. Of all places, Atlanta has been a controversial one in the realm of racism ever since the Milwaukee Braves moved there. You remember Hank Aaron, right? The man who was famously the subject of racist taunts and death threats as he approached Babe Ruth’s home run record?
So, yeah, this is a sensitive spot for Major League Baseball, an organization that simply needs to remain on the right side of history when it comes to issues like this — and risked widespread player boycotts if it hadn’t acted. Many others do understand that Atlanta, a famously liberal city that has fought against the conservative status quo in Georgia for years, is hurt by this decision. But that’s not the point.
The point is to bring awareness to the overly restrictive law that infringes on peoples’ democratic rights, and MLB did just that. And if they lose a customer in Wells, so be it. They likely gained many more in the process.