The call is growing to boycott and protest the Arizona Diamondbacks wherever they play in response to the monstrously named "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act" SB 1070. The owners of the D-backs, the Kendrick family have, as leading funders of the state Republican party, underwritten the political bottom feeders who passed the bill. The Kendrick's team also plays in a stadium Chase Field, that received $250 million in public funds. In other words, in a scheme that could be described as wingnut political money laundering, they have taken the people's money with one hand and with the other used it to bankroll state-apartheid.
People in Denver are organizing to protest the Diamondbacks when they play the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night. Also, this weekend they play the Cubs, a picket has been called for Thursday at noon at Wrigley Field. Judging by facebook, this will be a significant event. It's slogan is "America's favorite past-time will be hit with a reality check."
But Major League Baseball won't make it easy for us to "politicize" the games. (Only owners like the Kendricks get to play the sports/politics game.) The Center for New Community, a national civil and immigrant rights organization, attempted to buy three 5th Inning messages on the Cubs Scoreboard for Sunday's game. They would have said the following:
1). Cubs Welcome Arizona Immigrant Players. Repeal SB-1070!
2). Cubs Welcome All Immigrants. Repeal AZ SB-1070!
3). Cubs Welcome D-Backs Please Repeal Arizona SB-1070!
The Cubs, however, had no interest in playing ball. Here is their curt response:
"Unfortunately we are unable to process your scoreboard request due to the content of the messages.
Jenn Dakoske | Community Affairs"
Chicago Cubs management leaves fans with one conclusion. The organization will be officially supporting the Kendrick family efforts to stay in the shadows and avoid accountability. Immigrant Rights activists in the Chicago area have no choice but to take to the streets in front of Wrigley Field and be heard. They should leaflet, they should picket, they should send out a million press releases, and they should bear witness.
As for me, I wrote that I wouldn't write or mention the Arizona Diamondbacks as long as SB1070 remained law. But let's amend that if we could. I won't write about the team, but I will write up every effort to both protest Team Kendrick and spread these twin messages nationally:
1) Apartheid laws have no place in Arizona
2) Sports owners receiving millions in public subsidies can't fund right wing politicians to do their bidding and then recede to the shadows. No way, no how.
Dave Zirin is the author of the book: "Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics and Promise of Sports" (Haymarket). You can receive his column Edge of Sports, every week by going to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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