Professional Athletes Protest Arizona Immigration Law

It is no accident that the first stirrings of a national boycott, in the wake of Arizona's clumsy new anti-immigrant law, are coming from professional sports.

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By John Aloysius Farrell, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

The last time that Arizona's radical fringe needed a lesson in civility, the rest of us had to threaten to boycott the state. After Arizona lost several hundred million dollars in tourist business, and the National Football League moved the Super Bowl from Tempe to Pasadena, the sun devils finally recognized Martin Luther King's birthday.

The push to move the Super Bowl was due, in part, to the NFL's recognition of the increasingly important role played by black athletes in professional sports, especially football. And it is no accident that the first stirrings of a national boycott, in the wake of Arizona's clumsy new anti-immigrant law, are coming from professional sports as well.

Been to a baseball game lately? Notice a few guys named Rodriguez on the field? Let's check the league leaders: Cano, Pujols, Barajas, Soriano, Cantu, Ruiz, Cabrera, Gonzalez, Guillen, Pena, Ríos. And Justin Morneau, one very rich son of British Columbia.

The owner of the Phoenix Suns basketball team, Robert Sarver, made a bold statement with a sly little move last night, having his players wear jerseys that said "Los Suns." Sarver should be applauded. The next step is for baseball to yank the 2011 All-Star game out of Phoenix, before somebody named Jeter or Heyward gets stopped for looking too brown, and asked to present his papers.

As for the rest of us, there are lots of other places to play golf (the Irish would love to show you Ballybunion) and plenty of scenery elsewhere, as we wait for Arizona to come to its senses. The Grand Canyon is not going anywhere.

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