Politics and sports have been intertwined for as long as both have existed. Politicians regularly throw out first pitches or take the field for a coin toss. There is a long standing tradition of the President of the United States calling, then inviting teams who win major championsips to tour the White House. When it is simply ceremonial in nature, I don't have a problem with it. But when sports are used as a tool in political fights, I have to take issue.
Back in 1980, notorious tough guy President Jimmy Carter gave those pesky communist ruskies what for. He put his peanut farming boots down, issuing an ultimatum to the Soviet Union to pull out of Afghanistan...or else! Or else he wouldn't allow American athletes to compete in the Moscow summer olympics. Of course, the USSR wasn't about to let the Georgia farmer dictate their military actions and responded with a big so what? Then they refused to participate in the 1984 games in Los Angelos because of "anti Soviet hysteria". The two largest super powers in the world fighting each other by taking their ball and going home. In the end, only the athletes who train for years to compete in these games were hurt by the sorrid affairs.
As silly as Olympic boycotts can be, at least they can be justified to an extent.
Fast forward to 2010.
The state of Arizona, exasperated by the major social and criminal problems created from a influx of illegal immigrants, passed a law that simply orders police to follow FEDERAL law and establish the residency of those they investigate for other reasons. The law was carefully crafted and clearly states, at least four times, that racial profiling is not allowed. In other words, this applies to everyone...not just people with brown skin. It's a very simple law and perfectly legitimate. Most states in this country already require everyone, resident or otherwise, to carry identification on them at all times. If you are stopped for jay walking and don't have a state issued id you can be detained until your identity can be established. All Arizona is doing is mandating it's police departments enforce the existing laws.
For Seventy Years, federal law has required non-citizens to have identification on their person at all times while in this country to show they are here for legal purposes. You know...a passport, a green card, a visa. This isn't some new law Arizona came up with because they hate Mexicans. I keep hearing about this "racist law"...since when is Mexican a race? Here I thought it was a nationality for all these years. No, it's not "racist" to insist visitors to this country are here legally. Do you know what Mexican law is if you enter THEIR country illegally? They put you in a Mexican jail until they damn well feel like letting you out. The European Union law calls for imprisonment up to 18 months for being in one of their countries illegally.
What is Arizona going to do with those they catch here illegally? Turn them over to the federal immigration service who might or might not deport them. Same as happens every day all across this country right now. The Arizona law is nothing new, nothing over the top. If anything, it's too lenient. Keep in mind that not only is Arizona a major target for human and drug smuggling, but also for kidnapping as a direct result of the drug smuggling. They are fighting a 4 alarm fire with a squirt gun with this law and people are up in arms about "profiling"?
The Arizona law has led to absolutely ridiculous protests, some of the worst of which coming from the sports world.
First we had the Phoenix Suns changing the name on their Jersey's to "Los Suns" for a playoff game. Not only is this a sports team sticking it's nose where it doesn't belong, but it did so in the very state where the brouhaha began. A slap in the face to the state you represent. I'm shocked the NBA allowed this considering they have enough of their own controversies without getting involved in someone elses fight.
Then we have speculation about MLB moving the All Star game out of Arizona. I understand that baseball, more than any other sport, has a large contigent of Latino players but every last one of those players, coaches, etc. are here LEGALLY. Nobody wants to deport anyone who is here to work legally. I can't for the life of me figure out why that is so hard to understand.
Next we have the fools...er Cubs fans...protesting outside of Wrigley Field. Seems these loveable losers want the Cubs to move their spring training facilities out of Arizona to Florida. I guess a portion of their fan base is now afraid to travel to spring training games for fear of being detained? Are you kidding me?
Staying in my home state of Illinois, we have the completely braindead high school administrator who arbitrarily decided the girls basketball team won't be allowed to participate in a tournament they qualified for because...you guessed it, it's being held in Arizona.
Folks, a couple of years ago the Olympic games were held in Communist China. Possibly the biggest abuser of human rights on the planet. There wasn't near as much outcry about our athletes participating there as there is Arizona. Simply because the State of Arizona is desperate to do what the feds refuse to do...keep illegal criminals outside of our borders.
In their infinite wisdom, our founding fathers set up the Federal government with limited powers and limited duties. Among those duties is controlling our borders and protecting the citizens of this country. At that, they have failed miserably. They are too busy sticking their collective noses well beyond the intended purpose of Federal Government. You know, things like universal health care, bailing out banks and auto companies, "stimulating" the economy. Things the Federal Governmnent is neither equipped nor intended to handle. If the folks in D.C. can't or won't get a handle on this ever increasing immigration problem, the result is going to be devastating far beyond any speculation over a simple law in Arizona. Either way sports teams and their fans need to find another way to lodge their protests other than damaging our athletes and the games themselves.