Political Flavors

Letter Writing Sunday #2 – Move The Game

Posted in Editorials on January 9th, 2011

As a supporter of Civil Liberties, a baseball fan, and an American with Latino heritage, I am very interested in the controversy over this years Major League Baseball All Star Game. It’s scheduled to take place in Phoenix, Arizona. Activists opposed to Arizona’s immigration law which requires people to prove they are not “illegal immigrants” have called for a boycott of the state. Thus began “Move The Game” an organization dedicated to convince baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to move the All Star Game out of Arizona.

The intersection of sports and politics has always fascinated me. Desegregation, the Olympics, the growing popularity of women’s sports and other events show that what’s happening in the world is often reflected on the field. I outright reject any argument that a boycott of the ASG should it not be moved, or other political actions are illegitimate simply because they have to so with sports.

There is a precedent for Arizona and sports impacting the broader political discussion. In 1987, after the newly-elected governor rescinded the Martin Luther King holiday for Arizona, the NFL voted to move the Super Bowl from Arizona to the Rose Bowl in California. After Arizona voted to restore MLK day as a holiday, the NFL finally chose to host the Super Bowl in Phoenix.

I do not know if this movement will be successful, their web-page has not been updated since September. However, Spring Training is on the horizon (less than a month!) and I hope that more will be done.

I will be sending the following letter to Bud Selig, at his office address:
245 Park Avenue, 31st Floor
New York, NY Zip Code 10167

It is modified from the suggested letter on the Move the Game Website:

I have been a baseball fan since I was a little girl. My father taught me to play catch and all about the rules of baseball. It was one of the first things we bonded over and a love of the game is a special part of our relationship even now that I am an adult. He’s a proud American citizen, a veteran and also an immigrant. My dad came to this country as a child from Colombia.

I was shocked and angered when I heard that the state of Arizona passed SB 1070. I am opposed to racial profiling, especially that of American citizens like my father who, despite their service to our country might be singled out unfairly because of their appearance. It is for this reason that I fully support the Boycott Arizona movement and the Move the Game movement – to attempt to convince you, Mr. Commissioner to move the 2011 All Star Game anywhere outside of Arizona.

Arizona’s extreme immigration law is an invitation to racial profiling and harassment of Arizona residents and anybody who visits the state, including MLB players, an large number of whom are Latino or Black, their families and fans, an equally large number of whom are people of color and upstanding Americans.

Baseball is America’s National Pastime. It’s estimated the All-Star Game could bring as much as $60 million to the host region. Arizona doesn’t deserve to profit from discrimination and to host one of the great annual sporting events with your consent. Do what’s best for baseball and move the 2011 All-Star Game unless Arizona changes its harmful and hateful immigration law.

I have shared this letter on my blog, and via other social media on the internet and encouraged my friends, family and contacts to send you similar letters. I hope that we will convince you.

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