Immigration Law Protesters Should Leave Arizona Teams Alone

Joe MorganSenior Analyst IMay 14, 2010

When Gov. Jan Brewer signed Arizona’s controversial immigration bill into law April 23, she, along with Arizona’s legislature, set the nation off into a fierce political debate.

According to an article in the New York Times, the law “makes[s] the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and give[s] the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally."

The national debate over immigration has expanded to the point where it has found its way into the sports world, with the Phoenix Suns wearing “los Suns” (why not “los Soles”?) on their jerseys on Cinco de Mayo and the MLBPA voicing their discontent with the law.

Many are even calling for MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to move the 2011 All-Star Game from Arizona to another location in a gesture to aid the national “boycott” of Arizona.

While I admire my fellow citizens who use their First Amendment rights to voice their opinions and belief, protesters have crossed the line as of late regarding sports.

The recent protests of the Suns and the Arizona Diamondbacks at each team’s respective games—to put it bluntly—are stupid.

First off, what exactly are you protesting?

Last I checked, Steve Nash and Mark Reynolds are not active members of the Arizona state legislature.

What do protesters expect to accomplish by showing up in numbers to protest a group of athletes who have no say or input on the matter other than their constitutional right to vote?

It’s not as if the Diamondbacks bullpen can go to state legislature in Phoenix and magically get the law repealed—heck, they can barely do their assigned job (they started the week with a combined 7.55 ERA as of May 12).

Secondly, by protesting teams from Arizona, these protesters are arguably engaging in the prejudice that they so vehemently oppose—profiling.

If someone is Hispanic, that doesn’t automatically mean that said individual is an illegal immigrant and the same goes for teams from Arizona.

I believe it’s safe to say that not all Arizonians—or Americans, for that matter—actively support or advocate every policy enacted by their state government (e.g. opposition to Obamacare).

Additionally, it should be taken into account that these players are probably not all citizens of the state of Arizona, especially with the way free agency operates in sports nowadays.

Finally, please leave politics out of sports.

The sports world is one of the few arenas of life where party affiliation does not matter and people can get away from the complications of politics and government.

Bringing a political issue of this magnitude to the ballpark will accomplish little and is simply not the right move by those who oppose Arizona’s immigration policy.

I encourage the protesters to continue voicing their beliefs as it is a founding principle on which our government was built, but I ask that they keep it in the appropriate setting.

When you go to the game, leave the politics on the bench.