The Truth is Powerful

How political sports boycotts (really) work

In recent days, America’s pastime has become deeply embroiled in America’s politics. US Major League Baseball pulled its annual All-Star Game (an annual friendly matchup of the sport’s best players at every position) out of Atlanta to protest the Georgia state legislature’s recent passage of restrictive new voting laws.

Just a week into baseball season, the move is a big deal in the US. But more broadly, it’s the latest in a series of increasingly high-stakes sports decisions around the world that have a lot to do with politics.

China under the spotlight. Human right groups outraged by China’s genocide in Xinjiang are putting pressure on Western governments and corporate sponsors to withdraw from the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. At the same time, Chinese sports fans have turned on Nike — which makes the kits for China’s national football and basketball teams — for expressing “concern” over allegations of forced labor in Xinjiang’s cotton industry.

Meanwhile, European football (soccer) players have defied a FIFA ban on political statements in order to join a growing chorus of protest over the rampant mistreatment of migrant workers in Qatar, which is set to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. (Some 6,500 migrant laborers […]

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