San Diego Padres star Adrian Gonzalez and Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen have been among the most outspoken M
ajor League Baseball critics of Arizona’s draconian anti-immigration law that opens the door to legalized racial profiling against people of Latin American descent. It is a good start to have high-profile baseball people such as Gonzalez and Guillen taking strong stands against this reckless legislation, but that is all it is – a good start. In the time since Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed this garbage into law (April 23), and it was adjusted (though not nearly enough), an increasing number of people have expressed outrage and disappointment.
It also is heartening to hear that the MLB Players Association also has come out and strongly condemned this law in the state of Arizona that is xenophobia at its worst.
New York, NY, Friday, April 30, 2010 … The following statement was issued today by Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Michael Weiner regarding the immigration law recently passed by the state of Arizona.
“The recent passage by Arizona of a new immigration law could have a negative impact on hundreds of Major League players who are citizens of countries other than the United States. These international players are very much a part of our national pastime and are important members of our Association. Their contributions to our sport have been invaluable, and their exploits have been witnessed, enjoyed and applauded by millions of Americans. All of them, as well as the Clubs for whom they play, have gone to great lengths to ensure full compliance with federal immigration law.
“The impact of the bill signed into law in Arizona last Friday is not limited to the players on one team. The international players on the Diamondbacks work and, with their families, reside in Arizona from April through September or October. In addition, during the season, hundreds of international players on opposing Major League teams travel to Arizona to play the Diamondbacks. And, the spring training homes of half of the 30 Major League teams are now in Arizona. All of these players, as well as their families, could be adversely affected, even though their presence in the United States is legal. Each of them must be ready to prove, at any time, his identity and the legality of his being in Arizona to any state or local official with suspicion of his immigration status. This law also may affect players who are U.S. citizens but are suspected by law enforcement of being of foreign descent.
“The Major League Baseball Players Association opposes this law as written. We hope that the law is repealed or modified promptly. If the current law goes into effect, the MLBPA will consider additional steps necessary to protect the rights and interests of our members.
“My statement reflects the institutional position of the Union. It was arrived at after consultation with our members and after consideration of their various views on this controversial subject.”
First, a brief snapshot of the law from AllGov.com:
Count professional baseball players and their union among the growing chorus speaking out against Arizona’s new immigration law. The law, which will require anyone stopped by law enforcement on suspicion of being an illegal immigrant to show proof of legal status or citizenship, has been criticized by numerous Major League Baseball (MLB) players of Hispanic origin, who make up nearly 28% of the players on MLB teams.
This is an unjust law that people must stand up against. Here is what Gonzalez had to say to MLB FanHouse:
“I’ll support the Players Association 100 percent,” said Gonzalez, who grew up in both Tijuana and a suburb south of San Diego. “If they leave it up to the players and the law is still there, I’ll probably not play in the All-Star Game. Because it’s a discriminating law.
“I know it can’t be done, but they should take spring training out of (Arizona) if it’s possible.”
Gonzalez is to be commended for his courage and leadership in standing up to this unjust law Arizona is trying to impose in what is fast becoming a police state that is hostile to people of Latin American descent. He could easily stay quiet, count his money and not rock the boat. The same can be said for Guillen, who insists he will not participate in the 2011 MLB All-Star Game that is scheduled to be played in Arizona.
Guillen said this as quoted by the New York Post:
“I’m not going. I have to support my people, people I believe in. If those people were bad people, hell no I wouldn’t support them; but they’re good people,” Guillen said. “I’m very proud to be a [U.S.] citizen, but meanwhile I ask, “Wow, why did this happen?’ We didn’t do anything wrong here. We support this county and this country supports us. That’s why I’m confused about this thing.”As a coach, no [I won’t go]. As a player it’s a different thing. If the commissioner wants to play the All-Star game in Arizona, we have to show up. As a coach, I’m not going. They don’t need me. The show’s going on without me.”
Here is what Guillen added (rather strongly) in the New York Daily News:
“Most (immigrants) are workaholics,” Guillen said. “This country can’t survive without (them). I’m sorry but a lot of people from this country are very lazy. We aren’t. A lot of people from this country want to be on the computer and sending e-mail to people. We do the hard work. We’re the ones who have to go out and work in the sun all day long.”
This law is foul and targets a specific group of people. It is unjust and immoral and people must speak out against it.
MLB can make a huge difference that extends well beyond the baseball field. Those who are involved in MLB can take another big step toward disproving the myth that athletes are dispassionate people who only care about sports and making money. This is an important cause and our professional athletes and those involved in professional sports can lead the fight for justice on an issue that is far too crucial to be ignored.