Nine major sports unions oppose voting rights curbs

The fight against voter restriction laws got some major muscle on Monday, as nine major U.S. sports unions – from pro football to women’s soccer – declared their opposition to state legislative efforts restricting the right to vote.

Under the headline, “We Stand for Democracy” the athletic groups, which included the players’ associations of the NBA, NFL and women’s soccer league, decried state laws and bills they said (quote) “could make it harder for ordinary citizens to cast their ballots in future election seasons.”

They join several voting rights groups who say the restrictions passed by Georgia, and being weighed in Texas and Arizona among other states, target Black people and other racial minorities.

The Republican-backed Georgia law strengthened identification requirements for absentee ballots, shortened early voting periods for runoffs and made it a misdemeanor for members of the public to offer food and water to voters waiting in line.

The sports unions said Americans should feel a responsibility to (quote) “oppose any discriminatory legislation or measures that restrict or prevent any eligible voter from having an equal and fair opportunity to cast a ballot."

The Major League Baseball Players Association was not among the co-signatories but the sport's governing body last month took a stand against the new Georgia restrictions by moving its 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta.