In the wake of today’s decision by Major League Baseball to move this season’s All-Star Game and the 2021 draft out of Atlanta in response to the state’s new stricter voting laws, political science experts say the relationship between business and government has changed because of the advent of social media.
“I think today’s professional athletes are acting incredibly responsibly,” President Joe Biden said of the decision Friday. “I would strongly support them doing that. People look to them. They’re leaders.”
NKU associate professor of political science Ryan Salzman said the news caught him off guard.
“In the moment when I heard the news, I was very surprised,” he said. “But now you don’t have to look back very far to see this was a growing trend.”
Salzman brought up the example of the 2016 transgender bathroom bill in North Carolina, which prompted the NBA to move their All-Star Game out of Charlotte.
With the Georgia bill, more than 180 business owners have signed a statement against the law, including Lyft, Target and Blue Apron.
“It used to be that business leaders would be the ones to get the attention in the roles they took,” Salzman said. “We look at businesses like they’re people now. We personify them. That fundamentally changes how we look at that.”
He said in the age of social media, the internet and cable news networks businesses have collectively taken more of a political stance.
“Some of it is just that we have more opportunities to hear about it, and there’s more people to amplify the message,” Salzman said.
When asked if businesses in the Tri-State could do something similar, he said it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
“The saying has always gone, ‘vote with your pocketbook,’” Salzman said. “This is just an example of that. To a really high degree, to a large scale.”