I think it's time to send a message to the people behind the new Arizona "police state" law that empowers law enforcement to not have to worry about probable cause any longer. The police can question you anytime they like. If the Diamondbacks management want to engage in this type of hideous politics then it's time to call them out on it.
As the official Arizona Diamondbacks boycott call states, "In 2010, the National Republican Senatorial Committee's third highest Contributor was the [executives of the] Arizona Diamondbacks, who gave $121,600; furthermore, they also contributed $129,500, which ranked as the eighteenth highest contribution to the Republican Party Committee." The team's big boss, Ken Kendrick, and his family members, E. G. Kendrick Sr. and Randy Kendrick, made contributions to the Republicans totaling a staggering $1,023,527. The Kendricks follow in the footsteps of team founder and former owner Jerry Colangelo. Colangelo, along with other baseball executives and ex-players, launched a group called Battin' 1000: a national campaign that uses baseball memorabilia to raise funds for a Campus for Life, the largest anti-choice student network in the country. Colangelo was also deputy chair of Bush/Cheney 2004 in Arizona, and his deep pockets created what was called the Presidential Prayer Team--a private evangelical group that claims to have signed up more than 1 million people to drop to their knees and pray daily for Bush.
Under Colangelo, John McCain also owned a piece of the team. The former maverick said before the bill's passage that he "understood" why it was being passed because "the drivers of cars with illegals in it [that] are intentionally causing accidents on the freeway."
This is who the Arizona Diamondback executives are. This is the tradition they stand in.
The Diamondbacks' owners have every right to their politics, and if we policed the political proclivities of every owner's box there might not be anyone left to root for (except for the Green Bay Packers, who don't have an owner's box). But this is different. The law is an open invitation to racial profiling and harassment. The boycott call is coming from inside the state.
If the owners of the Diamondbacks want to underwrite an ugly edge of bigotry, we should raise our collective sporting fists against them. A boycott is also an expression of solidarity with Diamondback players such as Juan Guitterez, Gerardo Parra, and Rodrigo Lopez. They shouldn't be put in a position where they're cheered on the playing field and then asked for their papers when the uniform comes off.
The Diamondback people aren't just donating to the Republican Party like most professional sports team owners do---they are helping to create this climate of fear and hate-mongering. It's obscene.
Rep. Grijalva had to close his office because of death threats that he received over this draconian law. How long will it be until Arizona players find themselves caught up in the police state that Colangelo and Kendricks have helped bring to the state of Arizona? And I'm only talking baseball players. What about the rest of their pro teams and college teams as well as all the visiting athletes that come in and play in the state of Arizona? Studies show that about 27% of all MLB players are Latino and almost 40% are players of color.
The total population of Major League players of color (39.6 percent) was comprised of Latino (27percent), African‐American (10.2 percent) or Asian (2.4 percent). MLB has been remarkably consistent in terms of the percentage of white players. Between the 1998 and the 2008 seasons, 59‐61 percent of the playershave been white in each season with the exception of 2004 which saw 63 percent of the players being white.
There have been numerous studies done about the numbers of African Americans who are playing Major League Baseball, and included in those studies are fascinating results regarding the rise of the Latino player.
Furthermore, a Latino, Arturo Moreno, owns the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Two people of color, GM Ken Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen, guided the White Sox to a World Series title in 2005. Omar Minaya, baseball's only Latino GM, and Willie Randolph, one of two African-American managers, guided the Mets to the NL Championship Series last year. And according to MLB, people of color constitute 33 percent of the managerial positions within the minor leagues.
"Baseball is more diverse than ever," said Jimmie Lee Solomon, executive vice president of baseball operations for MLB.
Being diverse and playing baseball in Arizona has now become a hazardous proposition.
The Arizona law is based on inflammatory depictions of the undocumented --repeated by Governor Jan Brewer when she signed the executive order-- to justify such a repressive piece of legislation.
There are two ways to fight this law: one is in the courts and the other is through direct action. As for the first, lawyers will be filing lawsuits challenging the law's constitutionality. The latter, direct action, is a call to boycott the state of Arizona.
We express our outrage in the face of this abuse of power. We call for a boycott of all goods and services from Arizona and pledge to avoid tourism in the state as well. Let's send a signal of our disgust with an arrogant state government that asserts powers it does not have in order to persecute a minority population.
Boycott Arizona. Various media outlets refer to a planned boycott of Arizona to protest its passage of the law. La Opinión (Los Angeles), in an editorial titled "Say NO to Arizona" ("Diga 'NO' a Arizona"), writes: "We express our outrage in the face of this abuse of power. We call for a boycott of all goods and services from Arizona and pledge to avoid tourism in the state as well. Let's send a signal of our disgust with an arrogant state government that asserts powers it does not have in order to persecute a minority population."
I've contacted Artie Moreno's office for comment. He's a Mexican-American who now owns the Los Angeles Angels and is a native of Phoenix. How would he feel if he gets pulled over because of the color of his skin?
It seems like this idea is taking off because there's a protest scheduled in Chicago when the Diamondbacks come into the windy city to play a series. This is only the beginning.
Follow John Amato on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JohnAmato