Friday, April 30, 2010

D-backs shouldn't pay for bad politics

As a Hispanic who had the good fortune to be born in the United States, I understand the outrage caused by Arizona's extremely questionable anti-immigration law, a bad response to a legitimate problem. But the anger directed at the Arizona Diamondbacks is completely misplaced.

Protesters calling for a boycott of Arizona said the D-backs are fair game because team owners supported the politicians who passed the legislation through financial contributions. But I doubt any of the owners had an inkling that this was coming. If they had, they probably would have pulled those contributions very quickly even if they personally agreed with the legislation. Baseball owners are all about making money and there is no way that they would support a law that would risk alienating a substantial portion of their fan base.

I have no problem with the boycott, including calls for Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to move the 2011 All-Star game somewhere else. In America these days, the best way to show disapproval of something is to close your wallet. What I have a problem with is holding baseball players responsible for something that is way beyond their control. Unless we find out that the D-back players themselves supported the law, I don't think they should suffer the consequences. In fact, the team has several Hispanic players who could be subject to the inevitable racial profiling and their main concern should be trying to figure out a way to protect themselves and their families from the injustice of this law.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will note that I am scheduled to visit Phoenix in June when the New York Yankees play the D-backs in an interleague series. The trip was booked and paid for months ago. I have no intention of cancelling it. I'm going to support my Yankees and watch a couple of baseball games. I will find another way to show my disapproval.

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