SPORTS WATCH
‘Los Suns’ Prove They’re a Truly American Organization
by Gus Jarvis
May 14, 2010 | 931 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In our crazy, often-backwards world here in the U.S., watching, listening to, reading about sports is our escape from the harsh realities of the world around us. I turn on ESPN sports talk radio in the morning because I can’t stomach political pundits at 7 a.m. misinforming me on how I should feel about a particular issue, right or left.

Instead, I want to hear about last weekend’s perfect game, or how the Rockies are doing on their current road trip. What Tiger did – or didn’t – do last weekend? Give me some stats for crying out loud.

With the signing of Arizona’s new controversial immigration law and certain professional sports organizations acting out against it, the world of sport and politics are currently functioning as one. And on just this issue, I am damn glad.

The NBA made its stand against the Arizona immigration law on Cinco de Mayo, when Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver asked his team to play in its “Los Suns” uniforms for game 2 in their playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs.

In late April, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the immigration bill into law, which aims to identify, prosecute and deport illegal immigrants. Basically, the law mandates cops to check the documentation of people who are stopped for other reasons if they are suspicious that they are in the country illegally. The bill’s signing has sparked fierce, harsh and often racially fueled anger from both liberals and conservatives.

“Our players and organization felt that wearing our ‘Los Suns’ jerseys on Cinco de Mayo was a way for our team and our organization to honor our Latino community and the diversity of our league, the State of Arizona, and our nation,” Sarver said in a statement released by the team. “We are proud that 400 players from 36 countries compete in the NBA, and the league and the Suns have always considered that to be a great strength of the NBA.”

According to NBA.com, all Phoenix players backed Sarver in this decision as well as the Spurs organization, the NBA Players Association and NBA Commissioner David Stern. “We think it’s appropriate what the Suns are doing,” Stern said.

Myself included, I think most people agree that there is an illegal immigration problem here in the U.S., and that the federal government has been dragging its feet to enact good and proper legislation to fight the serious problems that arise from illegal immigration. I get that, and I think most people do. There is a problem with illegal immigrants burdening our health care, school and social systems without paying into them. There is a problem when immigrants cross into the U.S. and become nothing more than criminals. There are a slew of problems, don’t get me wrong. (Illegal immigrants don’t take other American’s jobs, they are just a part of an unregulated capitalist system, right? So no arguing there.)

But Brewer and the Arizona legislators weren’t thinking of these problems when they signed the new law. Rather, they were thinking politically, and signed the law for purely political motivations. While Brewer may have been saying other things when she signed that law, here’s what I heard: “You Democrats forced the health care bill down our throats, well watch this. I will force this law down your throats because it is my state’s right to do so!”

And with that signature, what Brewer really did was alienate the hundreds of thousands dark-skinned, Spanish-speaking U.S. citizens who live in Arizona. Even if their family has lived in that part of the country for decades legally, they had better have their documentation papers in hand and in order the next time they roll through a stop sign or its off to jail. It’s racial profiling at its purest. If this isn’t disturbing to you, pull your head out and figure it out. Open your eyes and see what is going on around you.

If having our citizenship papers available is the answer to our immigration problems, well, let’s all sign up. I guess I better put my birth certificate in my car the next time I go to Arizona – and you should too.

I applaud the NBA for its stand against Arizona’s specious new law. The NBA seems to understand that it, as an organization, is made up of players from around the world and that they are its life-blood. We as Americans need to understand the same thing. This country is made up of legal immigrants from around the world – a mix that is as American as it gets. Arizona needs solutions right now, not a legal can of worms.

Perhaps Arizona’s law, as wrong as it is, will anger enough Americans to force the federal government to actually come up with some workable solutions to the country’s immigration problems – without forcing cops to racially profile people, many of whom are U.S. citizens. If that happens, good for Arizona. Way to get the ball rolling.

But as it stands right now, it is completely wrong.

We all know that the coins in our pocket states “In God We Trust.” Let us not forget the flip side of that coin during all of this. E Pluribus Unum. We are all here for a reason.
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