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Squeeze Play: The AZ Immigration Law, MLB, and the Diamondbacks PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 29 April 2010 10:19
Change.org MLB logo
Change.org is pushing MLB and the Diamondbacks
over Arizona's new immigration law.

The Arizona Diamondbacks could be caught in a rundown. With Senate Bill 1070, Arizona's new immigration-enforcement law, protesters, the ACLU, and politicians are looking to put pressure on the state from every angle possible to try and get the law rescinded.

For protesters looking to apply pressure, the best place almost always starts with the pocketbooks. For the Arizona Diamondbacks, the fallout of the immigration bill has already begun.

Beginning today, there will be protests outside Wrigley Field, where the Cubs will host the D-Backs. Tony Herrera, the Arizona representative for a national movement called "Boycott Arizona 2010" sums up why the Diamondbacks are in the crosshairs.

“This team is an ambassador for Arizona," Herrera [said]. "And the owner, Mr. (Ken) Kendrick, is a big supporter of Republican politics. This new law was a Republican bill. Until the law is changed, there should be protests."

According to the report, the Diamondbacks were caught “off guard” by the comments.

"Although D-backs' Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick has donated to Republican political candidates in the past, the organization has communicated to Boycott Arizona 2010 leader Tony Herrera that Kendrick personally opposes (Senate) Bill 1070. The team also explained that Kendrick is one of nearly 75 owners of the D-backs and none of his, nor do the other owners', personal contributions reflect organizational preferences. The D-backs have never supported (Senate) Bill 1070, nor has the team ever taken a political stance or position on any legislation."

(POLL: Should MLB Move the 2011 All-Star Game from Arizona Over the State's New Immigration Law?)

And while the political issue will follow the Diamondbacks around this year and be a nuisance, if advocates for the removal of the immigration law get their way, the real pain for the club will be in just over a year.

Chase Field is set to host the 2011 MLB All-Star Game, and already websites such as Change.org and the DailyKos.com are calling for the game to be moved from Arizona due to the immigration law issue.

Change.org writes:

A reasonable suspicion standard could mean that some of our Major League Baseball players like Juan Gutierrez, Gerardo Parra, and Rodrigo Lopez from the Diamondbacks would probably get scrutinized based on their skin color if we allow the harsh anti-immigrant Arizona law to stand.

The website adds:

This is a great opportunity to hit Arizona in the pocketbook. Advocates point to how the the NFL moved the Superbowl from Arizona some 20 years ago because voters in the state rejected MLK Jr. Day as a national holiday. It is estimated that from 1990 to 1993, Arizona lost 170 conventions and $300 million in boycotts alone.

Regardless of whether Kendrick or the Diamondbacks do or don’t support the immigration law, as a professional sports organization that travels the country, you can bet they will continue to be the target protests. The players, of course, are caught in the middle, as are those have nothing to do with the politics of the club in the front office. Still, this is about applying pressure. MLB and the Diamondbacks just happen to have the misfortune of having the season upon them. The Phoenix Suns will most likely get the same treatment, should they advance past the Portland Trailblazers. Former Diamondbacks CEO Jeff Moorad must be wiping his brow and saying today, “It’s a good thing I’m now with the Padres.”

Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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