Arizona New No Fly Zone Part Three

By Gary Norris Gray BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: July 3, 2011

OAKLAND, CA—Many Americans want the Baseball All Star Game moved out of the Grand Canyon State. The following letter by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson Sr. expresses the feeling and emotions of Americans.

This letter was sent May 3, 2010 to Major League Baseball 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 We also urge you to move the scheduled 2011 All-Star game from Diamondback Stadium in Arizona unless this law is repealed.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 it’s 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 the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. 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 1990 Super Bowl from Arizona to Southern California.

Major League Baseball has to step up to the plate and make the correct political and social statement. The current silence by the baseball commissioner is deafening. Every year MLB honors Jackie Robinson celebrating this historical day with every player wearing the number 42. Robinson broke baseball color barrier 60 years ago. Major League Baseball currently employees 35% Latino players, how are these players reacting to MLB silence? Playing in Arizona next week makes the Robinson celebration mean nothing.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer responded last year 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.” 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. It made the bus company drop its segregated setting on the bus.

Maybe it just slipped her mind about the American Football League boycott and protest by the players of their All Star Game in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1964. Moving the game to the Houston Astrodome in Houston, Texas.

What about the late 70’s Coke-Cola Boycott by African Americans. The Coke Cola company did not have a Black executive. Within three months the Coke Cola Company named Philadelphia Seventy-Sixer basketball star Julius Erving their Northern Virginia representative.

Maybe Madam Governor cannot remember the Middle East oil embargo and boycott of the 1970’s.

Ms Brewer, do you remember the National Football League changing their venue of the 1990 Super Bowl.

All of these actions changed the political landscape of the United States. Maybe Governor Brewer will get an up-close and personal experience with an Arizona Boycott next week. She will not forget this one because it will affect her personally and politically.


Copyrighted 2011@ Gary Norris Gray- Gray Leopard Prod.