We've already seen the NBA politicized over the new Arizona illegal immigration law in the form of the Phoenix Suns basketball players engaging in PC groupthink by wearing jerseys that say "Los Suns." However, this act of mixing politics with sports wasn't enough for Sports Illustrated columnist Melissa Segura. She also wants major league baseball to inappropriately engage in the politics of illegal immigration. She starts off her SI column by misrepresenting the Arizona law and it goes downhill from there:
All it took was three little letters: L-O-S. With that change to the front of their jerseys during the NBA playoffs this week, the Phoenix Suns became "Los Suns" and Arizona's basketball franchise let the world know where it stands on its state's controversial immigration law.
The law -- Arizona Senate Bill 1070 -- requires law enforcement in the state with a "reasonable suspicion" to question and arrest anyone who can't immediately prove they're in the country legally.
Did you even read the law, Melissa? It definitely does not allow a law enforcement officer to merely question and arrest someone based on a "reasonable suggestion" that he is here illegally. To get you up to speed here is an analysis by Byron York of what the bill actually says:
The law requires police to check with federal authorities on a person's immigration status, if officers have stopped that person for some legitimate reason and come to suspect that he or she might be in the U.S. illegally. The heart of the law is this provision: "For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency…where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person…"
Got that? There first must be "lawful contact" before a person's immigration status can be checked. No arbitrary checks based merely on "reasonable suspicion" of being here illegally as Segura has suggested.
Not satisfied with the political showboating on this issue by just the Suns, Segura now wants it extended to the MLB:
...we have yet to hear from Major League Baseball, which has still not made a public comment. A league spokesman recently declined comment on the issue.
It's a deafening silence from a league that not only supported civil rights in the last century, it also pioneered them. Jackie Robinson took his place at first base in Brooklyn eight years before Rosa Parks kept her place on a bus in Montgomery. Now, that same league is sitting silently as it watches some of the same rights it helped bestow to blacks now be stripped from -- primarily -- Hispanics.
Segura also hilariously declares that her call to politicize baseball isn't political:
Those who argue Major League Baseball has no place in politics are right. It doesn't. But speaking out against Arizona's legislation isn't a political stance; it's a moral one. Robinson himself once said that "Life is not a spectator sport. If you're going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you're wasting your life."
...Baseball's imperative to fight this measure goes beyond economics to this simple matter: it is the right thing to do. If and when a major or minor league player is detained unjustly, MLB and/or its member clubs will be forced to respond. Why wait?
Whenever it does finally break its silence, MLB won't have to say much to fight the bill and send a message to Arizona lawmakers who want to keep both its discriminatory law and the All-Star Game. In fact, it can do so in fewer letters than the Suns did. These two would do just fine: N-O.