Rubio asks MLB commissioner if he’ll give up Augusta golf club membership
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Monday sent a letter to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred asking if Manfred would give up his membership at the exclusive Augusta National Golf Club in the wake of the league’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s controversial new voting law.
Rubio took a personal shot at the head of MLB after Manfred said the decision to pull the All-Star Game and the MLB Draft from Georgia was “the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport.”
“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,” Rubio wrote to Manfred.
Augusta National, the annual host of the Masters Tournament, one of the most prestigious tournaments in golf, didn’t invite a Black player to compete at the Masters until 1975, and the club itself didn’t admit its first Black member until 1990.
Rubio implied that Manfred was engaging in a double standard by supporting the decision to remove the All-Star Game from Georgia because of criticism that the state’s new voting law discriminates against Black voters in metropolitan Atlanta.
Rubio said the decision to move the All-Star Game “will have a bigger impact on countless small and minority owned businesses in and around Atlanta, than the new election law ever will.”
And he said it “reeks of hypocrisy.”
Rubio also said he has “no illusion” that Manfred will end his membership at August National because “to do so would require a personal sacrifice, as opposed to the woke corporate virtue signaling of moving the All Star Game from Atlanta.”
The GOP senator and potential 2024 White House candidate also challenged Manfred to reevaluate baseball’s relationship with China and Cuba, two countries with a history of human rights violations.
“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?” Rubio wrote.
The Florida senator predicted that MLB won’t boycott China because it could result in a substantial drop in revenues.
“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,” he wrote.
His letter follows calls by Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a fellow White House hopeful, and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), to end MLB’s antitrust exemption.
“@SenMikeLee & I will be working hard to END MLB’s antitrust immunity,” Cruz tweeted Friday along with the hashtag #GowokeGobroke.
Lee tweeted: “It’s time for the federal government to stop granting special privileges to specific, favored corporations—especially those that punish their political opponents.”