SPORT / No One is Illegal : Boycott the Diamondbacks

Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick: his family gave $1,023,527 to the Republicans. Photo by Brian Smale. Original graphic from Fortune. Satirical enhancement by James Retherford / The Rag Blog.

Echoes of Apartheid:
Boycott the Arizona Diamondbacks

By Dave Zirin / April 24, 2010

Gonna find a way
Make the state pay
Lookin’ for the day
Hard as it seems
This ain’t no damn dream
Gotta know what I mean
It’s team against team

Public Enemy, By the Time I Get to Arizona

This will be the last column I write about the Arizona Diamondbacks in the foreseeable future. For me, they do not exist. They will continue to not exist in my mind as long as the horribly named “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” remains law in Arizona. This law has brought echoes of apartheid to the state.

One Democratic lawmaker has said that it has made Arizona a “laughingstock” but it’s difficult to find an ounce of humor in this kind of venal legislation. The law makes it a crime to walk the streets without clutching your passport, green card, visa, or state I.D.

It not only empowers but absolutely requires cops to demand paperwork if they so much as suspect a person of being undocumented. A citizen can, in fact, sue any police officer they see not harassing suspected immigrants. The bill would also make it a class one misdemeanor for anyone to “pick up passengers for work” if their vehicle blocks traffic. And it makes a second violation of any aspect of the law a felony.

In response, Representative Raul Grijalva, who’s from Arizona itself, has called for a national boycott against the state, saying, “Do not vacation and or retire there.” He got so many hateful threats this week that he had to close his Arizona offices at noon on Friday.

Many of us aren’t in either the imminent vacation or retirement mode. We do, however, live in baseball cities where the Arizona Diamondbacks come to play.

When they arrive in my hometown in D.C., my back will be turned, and my television will be off. This is not merely because they happen to be the team from Arizona. The D-backs organization is a primary funder of the state Republican Party, which has been driving the measure through the legislature.

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.

[Dave Zirin is the author of the forthcoming Bad Sports: How Owners are Ruining the Games we Love (Scribner). Receive his column every week by emailing dave@edgeofsports.com. Contact him at edgeofsports@gmail.com .]

Source / The Progressive

Graphic by James Retherford / The Rag Blog.

The Rag Blog

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4 Responses to SPORT / No One is Illegal : Boycott the Diamondbacks

  1. Its so funny to watch the rabid left wing attacks. Cops, who until now, where able to responsibly investigate all kinds of cirmes and wrongdoing by people of all races, will suddenly turn into slobbering racists with the passage of the new law.

    This new law is a direct response to the failure of Obama and Bush and clinton, et al, to properly enforce our immigration policy which includes securing the borders to prevent unauthorized entry. One would think that after being called out for his failure by AZ residents, that Obama would step up and do his job. But instead, he gins up Holder and his lawyers to better shoot the messengers.

    The politics is clear, find an issue to get the democratic base to the polls and pull back in some of the support Obama has lost. I am not sure who is doing his political calculus, but its not going to work.

    The argument against this law. i.e. “shut up and take it” is so unreasonable, that it wont take much to convince those same independents that this is just another federal overreach.

    Obama, the gift that keeps on giving.

  2. Anonymous says:

    People who enter the country illegally are here illegally thus they are referred to as illegal aliens. Since when is it “liberal” to want to import cheap labor and millions of what amount to high school dropouts? When liberals abandoned the cause of labor and the environment in favor of some misguided notion of social justice in the 1980s they lost me.

  3. C.Wise says:

    “What’s My name Fool”, is one of the best books about sports I have ever read. Are there any good football or baseball franchises out there? I love the Vikings , but you say them getting a new stadium should be paid for by the Wilf’s (owners). I don’t see that happening, so should I just not like the team I’ve tortured myself watching the last 42 years? I am in a predicament,I love sports, but the greed, I guess I should by the team myself?

  4. Anonymous says:

    The law makes it a crime to walk the streets without clutching your passport, green card, visa, or state I.D.

    All americans must have an id ready to show law enforement at anytime how hard is it to carry it.

    stop blowing smoke up the asses of the american public,

    If you have been in this country and made no atempt to make yourself legal then please leave or go to cali they seem to want you

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