U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., sent a letter to Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred asking him if he’ll relinquish his personal membership at Georgia’s Augusta National Golf Club, after Manfred announced the MLB would move its All-Star Game and Amateur Draft out of the state because of its revised election laws.
Noting MLB has no problem conducting business as usual with nations that prohibit democratic elections, like China and Cuba, as well as its partnership with Tencent, a company that facilitates the persecution of dissidents in China, Rubio accused Manfred of engaging in nothing more than woke corporate virtue signaling.
The full text of the letter is below:
Dear Commissioner Manfred:
I write to ask you whether you intend to maintain your membership at Augusta National Golf Club. As you are well aware, the exclusive members-only club is located in the State of Georgia.
Last week, you “decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game” from Atlanta because of Georgia’s revised election law. It 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.
Will Major League Baseball now end its engagement with nations that do not hold elections at all like China and Cuba? Will you end your 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?
Since Major League Baseball now appears eager to use its “platform” to demonstrate “unwavering support” for fundamental human rights, will you cease your relationship with the Chinese Government, which at this very moment is committing genocide against the Uyghurs Muslims in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR)?
I am, of course, under no expectation any of this will happen. 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.
In the end, as a citizen of a free nation you, and Major League Baseball, have the right to speak out against laws in the U.S. you disagree with, even if it is on the basis of false information. What would be truly bold, however, is if you would speak out on behalf of the voiceless who face arbitrary imprisonment, forced sterilization, coerced abortions, rape, and other horrific acts at the hands of one of your business partners. I am under no illusion that Major League Baseball will sacrifice business revenue on behalf of its alleged corporate values.
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.