The New Dead Zone in U.S. (Part 3)

By Gary Norris Gray, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: May 11, 2010

CALIFORNIA (BASN) — Major League Baseball will hold their annual All-Star Festival in the state of Arizona next summer.

Some Americans want this celebration to be moved out of the Grand Canyon State. The following letter by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson Sr. expresses the feeling and emotions of many Americans.

This letter was sent May 3, 2010 to MLB Commissioner, Bud Selig:

Dear Bud,
The Rainbow PUSH Coalition appeals to Major League Baseball to take a public stand against the recently passed Arizona immigration law. We also urge you to move the scheduled 2011 All-Star game from Diamondback Stadium in Arizona unless this law is repealed.

America’s democracy is based on the values of freedom and equality — a level playing field for all of its people. The passage of the Arizona immigration law is an affront to these principles, representing the most divisive and polarizing approach to immigration reform.

It is morally reprehensible and will be challenged as unconstitutional in the courts. This law — and the social “movement” that has inspired it – will have a negative impact on all of America’s people.

Major League Baseball is truly an international sport. Well over 25% of MLB players are of Latino descent, and players, coaches, managers, and staff come from many countries other than the United States.

From Jackie Robinson’s breakthrough moment in 1947 to today, they make major league baseball one of the world’s most popular sports. They come here legally, documented, with the single goal of showcasing their skills and contributing to the growth and success of Major League Baseball.

They should not be subjected to humiliating and illegal harassment.

The Arizona law will have a devastating impact on the integrity and public image of Major League Baseball.

Imagine if players or their families are stopped and interrogated by law enforcement – not just during all-star week, but during any games – spring training (where half of the teams locate in Arizona) and regular season – played in Arizona.

That would truly be a dark day for Major League Baseball.

We urge MLB to take all necessary measures to protect the rights and interests of your players, coaches, staff and their families.

Sincerely, Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. President and Founder/Rainbow PUSH Coalition Twenty years ago, the state of Arizona did not acknowledge or celebrate the National Holiday of Doctor Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. This was an act of defiance by this politically conservative state just as this year passage of the new immigration 1070 law.

Twenty years ago this act was a political slap in the face of Arizona’s African American residents. The National Football League took notice and moved the Super Bowl from Arizona to Southern California.

Once again this year the state of Arizona smacks the face of another minority resident. The Arizona police forces in the state now have the right to detain anybody they perceive to be an undocumented alien.

How can this law be enforced without racial profiling?

Major League Baseball has to step up to the plate and make the correct political statement. The current silence by the baseball commissioner is deafening.

Every year MLB honors Jackie Robinson celebrates a historical day when every player wears the number 42 who broke baseball color barrier 60 years ago. Major League Baseball currently employees 25% Latino players.

Each spring MLB conducts spring training in the state of Arizona. How are the baseball executives going to deal with this law?

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has responded to this new political ground swell: “Urging Major League Baseball to take away next year’s All-Star Game from Phoenix is the wrong play. In Arizona, both proponents and opponents of Senate Bill 1070 have stated that economic boycotts are an inappropriate and misguided response to an issue that is clearly worthy of proper public debate and discourse.

Put simply, history shows that boycotts backfire and harm innocent people.

Boycotts are just more politics and manipulation by out-of-state interests.

As a border state, Arizona has already paid a heavy price for the federal government’s failure — hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars in unreimbursed costs — and its citizens should not be punished further.” Maybe Governor Brewer was not a great history student. Maybe she has forgotten or does not remember about the effectiveness of the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955.

Maybe it just slipped her mind about the American Football League boycott and the protest of their All Star Game in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1964.

What about the late 70’s Coke-Cola Boycott by African Americans and maybe she cannot remember the Middle East oil embargo and boycott of the 1970’s. Madam Governor, remember the National Football League changing the venue of the 1990 Super Bowl out of your own state.

All of these actions changed the political landscape of the United States.

Maybe Governor Brewer will get an up-close and personal experience with American Boycotts in 2010-2011. She will not forget this one.