By RICARDO KLEMENT
PHOENIX, Arizona - In 1993, when the State of Arizona slogged through its decision on whether to celebrate Martin Luther King's birthday as a holiday, the National Football League did something it had not done before in the history of the game, and has never done since - it supported a boycott of Arizona by moving the Super Bowl to Pasadena, California. It was widely believed that the NFL did it because of its many Black players.
Things are shaking in Major League Baseball as it ponders moving the 2011 All-Star Game out of Phoenix following Arizona's decision to pass a harsh anti-immigrant law. MLB knows Hispanics make up a good percentage of league rosters.
The local MLB franchise - Arizona Diamondbacks - is in a public relations lurch, although the politics of management is not exactly one the league would want to see made public.
There is this from Dave Zirin, a columnist for The Nation magazine: The Diamondbacks organization is a primary funder of the state Republican Party, which had for months been driving the measure through the legislature. The National Republican Senatorial Committee's third-highest Contributors in 2010 were Diamondbacks executives, who donated $121,600. They also contributed $129,500 to the Republican Party Committee. Team boss Ken Kendrick and his family members chipped-in a staggering $1,023,527 to Republican candidates.
The governor of Arizona - Jan Brewer - is a Republican.
No official boycott of anything Arizona is currently in play, but rumblings moving across the country indicate many are not happy with Arizona's decision to authorize police officers to stop, question and arrest undocumented immigrants. The City of San Francisco is on record as saying it is reviewing business dealings with Arizona, including travel to conferences and seminars in Arizona by its employees. Scathing editorials have been published in, among others, The New York Times, Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times - all questioning Arizona's actions.
It'll be interesting to see how the Arizona Diamondbacks players handle this. The photo atop this story is of team pitcher Juan Gutierrez, said to be among the most popular players on the squad...