Sunday, May 2, 2010

Professional Sports Leagues & Arizona SB 1070/ HB 2162

Effective July 28 police in Arizona are required to request an individual's registration documents when there is a reasonable suspicion that the individual could be in the country illegally. Failure to provide registration documents incurs arrest and a fine. DBSF recognizes the complexity of immigration reform, and that the issue becomes magnified in those states bordering Mexico. But, such legislation is based on fundamentally racist contexts. Regardless of debates that will ensue over the constitutionality of the law, or the Federal government's inefficacy in establishing comprehensive immigration reform, the fact remains that this policy will exclusively target persons of color.

Considering that major sports leagues are overwhelmingly non-white (approximately 82% of the athletes in the NBA, and 65% of the athletes in the NFL are persons of color), the sports leagues that benefit so greatly from these athletes' athletic prowess, and physical sacrifices should send a message to Arizona that they will oppose any state that so overtly discriminates on the basis of race. DBSF suggests that the major sports leagues should exclude all cities in Arizona (this will really only affect Phoenix) from hosting major exhibitions (i.e., the NBA All Star game), and championships (i.e., the Superbowl) as long as the policy is in effect. (All home games for existing Arizona teams would be allowed to be played in the state.)

With the Sunbelt getting hit particularly hard by the collapse of the housing market, the state could ill afford to lose out on the influx of tourism and out-of-state dollars associated with such major sporting events. Should the major sports leagues ignore the problem then they send a clear message to their players that the leagues are concerned about the athletes' well being on the field but, not off it.


  1. yeah, a state law that follows the letter and spirit of the federal law it is modeled after is really a tragedy and something.

    I think it is definitely pro sports' duty to take a stand and let the 75% of the AZ population that supports this measure that they are inherently wrong and should be punitively punished based on the personal opinion of a doctoral student from Washington DC!

  2. black guys got better dunks and spanish guys got better curveballs. and that's the frank and beans of it.

  3. There's a wealth of historical evidence of large groups (sometimes majorities) of countries or states that supported policies and regimes with truly misanthropic intentions. Populism doesn't make something right. A fundamental question remains--under what circumstance would a white person ever be stopped by a police officer under this law? Is there a large illegal Polish contingency in Arizona? This policy is based on targeting and isolating racial groups. More historical evidence shows that that approach has myriad unintended, adverse outcomes.

  4. DBSF is the Eugene Robinson of Sports Blogs.

    The important part of the law is that it requires a lawful stop in the first place, not just a blind suspicion that the person is in the country illegal. (also keep in mind, the concept we are dealing with is ILLEGAL immigration, not LAWFUL immigration).

    The AZ law operates similarly to someone being pulled over for not using a turn signal and later given a DUI after the police officer determines they are drunk driving.

    If a suspicious person is operating a vehicle without a license, perhaps can't speak english, and can only provide foreign identification, then perhaps the officer has reasonable suspicion that this person is in the country illegally.

    Have you read the law or have you only read Ariana Huffington's interpretation of it?

  5. Point-counterpoint. Wikipedia. As DBSF understands it, people can also report individuals to the police who they think are illegal. Still the problem persists only even if it is the case that it requires a lawful stop. How many white people, during a lawful stop, will be asked to provide documentation of their legal status?