Georgia Governor Brian Kemp commended Augusta National Golf Club for not giving in to the political pressures that have hit the state lately.
“Personally, I applaud the Masters for not getting involved in politics,” Kemp said in an interview broadcast on CNBC’s Seema Mody Friday, noting that there are “growing calls from activists trying to put people under pressure to put “.
Kemp’s comments came as Augusta National hosted this year’s Masters golf tournament, which started on Thursday. The event came after the Republican governor signed an election bill last month that critics say disproportionately disenfranchises color voters.
Major League Baseball announced on April 2 that it had pulled its 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta in protest against the signing of the law. Kemp has blown the league’s decision on “The News with Shepard Smith”.
“I don’t appreciate the position you have taken,” said Kemp. “You could just stand up and have a backbone until the activists who pocket money during hard work and Georgians are hurt by the Major League Baseball decision.”
MLB did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Fred Ridley, chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club, said Wednesday that the right to vote is fundamental to a democratic society. However, Ridley refrained from saying whether he supports or opposes Georgia’s new law.
Decisions made by big sports companies like MLB and Augusta National also have massive economic ramifications.
“Whenever thousands and hundreds of thousands of people flock to the city, it sure seeps into our tiny little neighborhood and then we see the economic benefits of it,” Alphonzo Cross, owner of Parlor Cocktail Den in Atlanta, told CNBC. He also said he’s trying to figure out how to make up for the lost business from the all-star game.
Some economists estimate the city’s losses from losing the All-Star game could reach around $ 10 million.
In Augusta – 150 miles east of Atlanta – businesses have a much more positive outlook. Augusta officials expect the golf tournament to raise at least $ 50 million. Heather Chancey, owner of Cantina Locale Mexican grill, told CNBC that her business “likely increased 60 to 75%” this week.