MLB, Players Not Expected To Make Political Stand On Immigration Law At All-Star Game
MLB and its players at the All-Star Game in Phoenix will have an opportunity to “make politicians and the Arizona electorate squirm about how that state decided to address its immigration problem,” but it looks as though baseball is going to "let the moment just sail right by," according to Michael Silverman of the BOSTON HERALD. Part of Arizona Senate Bill 1070 has passed, but its “most controversial elements” have been “put aside for now after being rejected in federal appeals courts.” Silverman noted the bill’s “most inflammatory parts, those concerning racial profiling and dubious suspensions of civil liberties, will not be in effect” for the All-Star festivities July 11-12. Red Sox 1B Adrian Gonzalez last week said that the All-Star Game did not represent an opportunity to "speak out" about the legislation. Gonzalez: “That’s a government issue -- we’re baseball players, not politicians.” When asked if the players had been asked by the MLBPA “to deal with the issue in any particular way,” Gonzalez said that “they had not.” Gonzalez: “The union has said ‘do whatever you want, you’re on your own. If you want to speak your mind, you can, but it’s a political issue, not a baseball issue.’” The MLBPA “came out in opposition to the law almost immediately.” MLBPA Exec Dir Michael Weiner said, “The union’s position on the law is unchanged, but the All-Star Game is a chance to celebrate the immense contributions that ballplayers, including international players, have made to the success of the game. It is also an opportunity to celebrate contributions baseball has made to civil rights and the equal treatment of all.” Red Sox DH David Ortiz, who is “opposed to the bill,” said, “Baseball is not related at all to politics” (BOSTON HERALD, 6/26).
SILENCE IS GOLDEN? The AP’s Jim Litke wrote MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and the MLBPA “have been quiet far too long" about the immigration law. Selig's silence “could be the result of several things,” with the most recent reason being he is “probably spending more time closeted with lawyers these days because of the tug-of-war” over the Dodgers. Litke wrote, “Selig and the union simply may be laying low in hopes the courts will make it a moot issue before they have to take a stand. They may get their wish, but perhaps not soon enough” (AP, 6/27).