CBS is set to broadcast The Masters golf tournament from Augusta, Ga., this coming weekend, something it has done every year since 1956. But this year's telecast comes on the heels of the network encouraging corporations to "fight" Georgia's new election law, leading to calls by some of hypocrisy, Fox News reports.
On Friday, CBS posted a piece originally headlined "3 ways companies can help fight Georgia's restrictive new voting law." The headline has since been revised to make it sound less like an endorsement from the news organization.
Major League Baseball announced last week it would move this year's scheduled All-Star Game and draft from Atlanta over the law, that has draw criticism from the left as a restriction on Black voting rights and a return to "Jim Crow."
Republicans counter that the law keeps cheating out of the process and that anyone who could legally vote in the previous election will be able to do so in future elections.
Responding to former President Barack Obama's tweet congratulations MLB for its actions, media critic and former CNN producer Steve Krakauer tweeted:
"Let's not stop there. How dare CBS air The Masters live from Georgia next week! (Also: "masters" uh are we not getting the connotation here?) The Masters must be moved from Georgia and renamed immediately, or CBS must not air it, President Obama can we agree on this?"
CBS did not return calls to Fox seeking comment.
Golfers arriving at Augusta National on Monday were nudged into addressing the debate, but tried to steer clear of the controversy including Major League Baseball's decision to remove the All-Star Game from Atlanta over the issue.
The Masters is the year's first golf major and one of the most popular annual sports events.
Golfers have also rarely waded into sensitive areas eager to avoid offending their hosts, and again on Monday treaded softly around Georgia's voting issues.
"This voter stuff and voters for American citizens is very important," said 2020 PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa. "Overall the topic of voter rights and all that, that should be the topic that we talk about, (but) not if we are here playing golf."
Augusta National has had its own fraught history with race. The Masters, which began in 1934, did not invite a Black player to compete until 1975, and the club did not allow a Black member until 1990.
The decision to move the All-Star Game has rankled many Republicans, including Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, who sent a letter to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday asking him if he will relinquish his Augusta National membership as a personal protest over Georgia's new laws.
"As you are well aware, the exclusive members-only club is located in the State of Georgia," wrote Rubio. "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," Rubio said.
Consumer pressures like those applied to MLB and its sponsors have not had the same impact on Augusta National.
When the club was under pressure to allow women members it opted to broadcast the 2003 Masters commercial free to keep tournament sponsors from being pulled into the controversy. It finally allowed membership by women in 2012.
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