NEW YORK – A few thoughts here about the recent controversial immigration issue in the state of Arizona that has dominated the headlines. More so, how the world of fun and games, known as sports has reacted. As a frequent visitor to the Grand Canyon state and with numerous friends affected by the law, this issue needed some attention.
There is no right or wrong here because on one hand there is an influx of illegal immigrants in the greater Phoenix metro area. And then there are those who are rightfully American citizens of Latino descent who earn wages and strive for a continued and better life.
And those who are taxpayers, and good citizens with values, will be subjected to being stopped and questioned by local law enforcement authorities because of their ethnicity. That, on the other hand leaves to question as to how constitutional this Arizona immigration law is.
As an observer it has been seen in the desert. Hard workers of Latino descent they are, employed in restaurants, schools, assisting in building of new homes and businesses in the valley. They are what America stands for when it comes to equality and opportunity.
So when the world of sports reacts, this has to be a major issue that has gone beyond expectations. In the last week there has been a call from a Major League Baseball manager for ballplayers of Latino descent to boycott the All-Star game in Phoenix next July.
There has been reaction from organizers of the Fiesta Bowl, a major college football game that is played in the town of Glendale, for the United States Government to reconsider the law. The Arizona Cardinals football team of the NFL expressed negativity to the law as did the NBA basketball Phoenix Suns.
Of course when it comes to sports, and issues of concern to our nation, we tend to always believe that this is our diversion from the troubles of a bad economy or unrest around the world. We all recall how the events of September 11, 2001 were briefly tamed with the resumption of a Major League Baseball game.
But last week prior to his Chicago White Sox meeting the Yankees in New York, Sox manager Ozzie Guillen made a public statement referring to the Arizona immigration law as racial profiling. Furthermore, Guillen reiterated, as is fact, a majority of MLB rosters are dominated by players of Latino descent.
Ballplayers, as Guillen says are people also, who would be subjected to being stopped and searched. Well highly unlikely, as baseball does have a well reputed security detail around their teams. Players usually travel together and have proper identification with them. They are reminded to have their passports available for an upcoming road trip to Toronto Canada and that has been seen on billboards in clubhouses of teams in the American League.
Regardless of what Guillen says, or what other professional college or sports organizations believe, remember, sports has always been that diversion. A way to keep our minds and beliefs for the moment away from turmoil as this immigration law will become.
Let this work itself out. And for those who feel they are being discriminated and profiled incorrectly, you are justified to warrant your cause for justice. Sports and politics were never meant to meet on the same playing field and by the time that All-Star game gets to Phoenix surly there will be a compromise for all.
Because that is what America is supposed to be all about.
e-mail Rich Mancuso: [email protected]