Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday that he wouldn't throw the ceremonial first pitch as planned at the Texas Rangers' home opener -- the latest jab in a fight that's pushing corporate America into the political battle over voting rights.
The Republican governor informed the Rangers via a letter, citing Major League Baseball's decision to move the MLB All-Star Game from Atlanta in response to Georgia's sweeping new voting laws, which include new restrictions on voting by mail and greater legislative control over how elections are run.
"I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB draft,” Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said. “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”
Abbott's decision came hours before the team was set to take the field against the Toronto Blue Jays in Arlington.
In the letter, Abbott said he will no longer participate in and that Texas won't seek to host any future MLB events.
"It is shameful that America's pastime is not only being influenced by partisan political politics, but also perpetuating false political narratives," Abbott said.
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Abbott added that the league's decision did not impact the "deep respect" he has for the Rangers which is "outstanding from top to bottom."
Major League Baseball and the Texas Rangers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Liberal activists are putting pressure on companies to denounce nationwide GOP efforts to tighten state voting laws. A joint statement from executives at nearly 200 companies, including HP, Microsoft, PayPal, Target, Twitter, Uber and Under Armour, took aim at state legislation "threatening to make voting more difficult" and said "elections are not improved" when lawmakers impose new barriers to voting.
Up to 40,000 fans will be allowed in at full capacity at Globe Life Field following Abbott's scaling back of COVID-19 protocols.
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