One interesting facet of the debate over Arizona’s new immigration law is that sports figures seem much more willing to speak out about it than most political issues. In a way, I suppose that reflects the role that sports has played in our debates about race. But the ferocity of the outrage from the sports community has been surprising to me: first the Arizona Diamondbacks might lose their status as host of the 2011 All-Star Game, and now the owner of the Phoenix Suns has decided the team will wear “Los Suns” jerseys (which look pretty cool). Trey Kerby does a nice job of summarizing why this is so unusual:
people in the sports world keep their political leanings to themselves. Sure, there are a few guys who regularly speak out on political issues, but for the most part that’s considered bad business. As Michael Jordan put it, “Republicans buy shoes too.”
Baseball probably couldn’t avoid addressing the issue; given the high number of players of Latino heritage, there was bound to be a backlash among the rank-and-file. But it wasn’t as much of a (ahem) slam dunk that the basketball team that relies on plenty of Arizona Republicans for ticket sales would publicly object. I’ll be interested to see if the Arizona Cardinals have anything to say on the matter.