Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig recently struck out, big time, by stubbornly refusing to relocate the 82nd All-Star Game from Phoenix, Arizona, to another city due to the desert state’s racist immigration law, SB 1070. Although the core of this draconian law remains under a federal court injunction, if Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has her way, it can go all the way to the conservative-dominated Supreme Court and set a devastating legal precedent against 50 million Latinos in the U.S..
Petitioned by numerous civil rights and immigrant advocate groups to take a moral and financial position against a law that promotes racial profiling against all Latinos, especially since SB 1070 allows for police officers and other government officials to demand legal documents against individuals under the guise of “reasonable suspicion.” The fundamental problem here is that those most likely to be targeted will be brown-skinned individuals and those with Spanish-surnames. Despite this fact, Segil and the owners of the major league baseball teams don’t care that almost 30% of the MLB baseball players—those of Latin American decent with Spanish surnames like Gonzalez, Mariano and Rodriguez—will be directly impacted by this racist law that has spread like wildfire to other states, such as Utah, Indiana, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.
Taking the so-called apolitical position that America’s greatest pastime will not get involved in a law that should be settled through the political process, Segil conveniently ignores the fact that locating the All-Star Game in Phoenix in the first place represents a political act. It’s no secret that major U.S. cities compete against each other to secure the next major sports event like the MLB World Series, National Football League Super Bowl or National Basketball Association World Championship.