Arizona May Lose Baseball All-Star Game Due to ‘Show Your Papers” Law
April 29, 2010
(ChattahBox)— Much like the five-year-long boycott that resulted after Arizona refused to recognize Martin Luther King day in 1987, another call for a boycott of the desert state is gaining ground, in the wake of passage of a harsh anti-immigration law. Already the popular drink Arizona Iced Tea was targeted for a boycott, until it was learned that the beverage was actually produced in New York. Now, U.S. Congressman José E. Serrano, (D-NY) is calling for Major League Baseball to move the 2011 All-Star Game from Phoenix; a move that could cost the city millions in lost revenue. Serrano calls the Arizona “Show me your papers” law “unjust, wrong-headed, mean-spirited, and unconstitutional.”
Serrano cites the National Football League’s decision in 1991 to move the 1993 Super Bowl from Phoenix, as precedent. Arizona finally relented and voted to recognize Martin Luther King the following year.
The New York Congressman points out that a large number of Major League baseball players are of Latino origin. “I think Major League Baseball, with 40 percent Latino ballplayers at all levels, should make a statement that it will not hold its All-Star Game in a state that discriminates against 40 percent of their people,” he said.
ABC News notes that the boycott over Martin Luther King day was devastating to Arizona’s tourism industry. “Tourism officials estimated that Phoenix alone lost almost 170 conventions and an estimated $300 million in benefits from the five-year-long controversy.”
Serrano correctly notes that America’s pastime unites us as a nation. Black, White, Latino, Asian—Americans cheer for their home teams, the players’ athleticism and a game winning performance under pressure:
“Baseball has been a game that has unified us,” Serrano said. “People root for players on their team regardless of where they come from. You might have strong feelings against immigrants but you don’t mind that fact that there’s a guy playing on your team with a visa from Venezuela, the Dominican Republic or some other place.”
Serrano is urging Major League baseball players to take a stand against Arizona’s draconian immigration law, the same way NFL players refused to play in a Super Bowl in a state that refused to honor Martin Luther King:
“I would remind MLB that in 1993, the NFL was clear in its statement against this sort of behavior when it rescinded its offer to Arizona to host the Super Bowl. This came after NFL players warned that they would not play in a state that did not celebrate the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. I urge the Major Leaguers playing today to follow the lead of their NFL counterparts in taking a strong stand against racism.”
This is just the beginning of the economic consequences for Arizona’s law making it a crime to be brown-skinned.