Sen. Rubio Slams MLB Commissioner in Letter Demanding Action on China Ranking member Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) questions witnesses during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on February 23, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Monday, 05 April 2021 12:07 PM
Now that Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that this summer's All-Star Game and Draft are out of Georgia over the state's controversial new voting law, Sen. Marco Rubio says he wants to know if the executive will either speak out against China or, for that matter, resign his personal membership at the Augusta National Golf Club.
"Taking the All-Star game out of Georgia is an easy way to signal virtues without significant financial fallout. But speaking out against the Chinese Communist Party would involve a significant loss of revenue and being closed out of a lucrative market," the Florida Republican wrote in a letter sent Monday to Manfred.
"I am under no illusion that Major League Baseball will sacrifice business revenue on behalf of its alleged corporate values," he added. "Similarly, I am under no illusion you intend to resign as a member from Augusta National Golf Club. To do so would require a personal sacrifice, as opposed to the woke corporate virtue signaling of moving the All-Star Game from Atlanta.”
He pointed out that Manfred, when announcing that the league was pulling its events out of Atlanta, said that he had "decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport" would be by relocating the game.
That move, said Rubio, "is a decision that will have a bigger impact on countless small and minority-owned businesses in and around Atlanta, than the new election law ever will. And one that reeks of hypocrisy."
Countries like China and Cuba "do not hold elections at all," Rubio said in his letter, asking if the MLB will end its "lucrative financial relationship with Tencent, a company with deep ties to the Communist Party and actively helps the Chinese Government hunt down and silence political dissidents?"
He also asked if the MLB will cease its relationship with the Chinese government, "which at this very moment is committing genocide" against the Uyghurs Muslims in the Xinjiang province, considering it says it wants to focus on human rights.
Rubio said he doesn't think any of that will happen because taking the All-Star game out of Georgia is an "easy way to signal virtues without significant financial fallout" but speaking against China's Communist Party "would involve a significant loss of revenue and being closed out of a lucrative market."
He acknowledged that Manfred, as a citizen of a free nation, and the MLB have the right to speak out against laws they disagree with, but it would be "truly bold" to speak out on behalf of those who "face arbitrary imprisonment, forced sterilization, coerced abortions, rape, and other horrific acts at the hands of one of your business partners."
Rubio's letter to Manfred comes after the league and companies that have criticized the new law have come under fire from Republicans, including former President Donald Trump who last week urged baseball fans to boycott the MLB over pulling its events out of Atlanta.
He also called for a boycott of "all of the woke companies that are interfering with Free and Fair Elections. Are you listening Coke, Delta, and all!"
Coca-Cola and Delta are among companies based in Georgia whose CEOS have spoken out against the new law.