Today I am a Suns fan, and it has nothing to do with Channing Frye’s jump shot. Suns owner Robert Sarver released a statement through the team denouncing SB 1070, Arizona’s
controversial asinine immigration law, in no uncertain terms.
The money quote:
The frustration with the federal government’s failure to deal with the issue of illegal immigration resulted in passage of a flawed state law… However intended, the result of passing this law is that our basic principles of equal rights and protection under the law are being called into question, and Arizona’s already struggling economy will suffer even further setbacks at a time when the state can ill-afford them.
SB 1070 is a classic, and transparently cynical, attempt by politicians to capitalize on genuine frustration over a serious social problem. This is nothing new for politicians generally, and as a former resident of the Grand Canyon State (and a current resident of S. Carolina) I know something about transparently cynical politicians. Apparently, so does Sarver and he’s not so willing to allow them to play with his money. I also know the people of Arizona, and understand their frustration. They deserve better than their elected officials unfortunately.
Some prefer to keep the sports page separate from the editorial page. Although that represents one sort of ideal it has never matched the reality of sports, which are pretty tightly woven into the social fabric; just take a listen to sports talk radio any day. All too often, the “sports and politics don’t mix” sentiment represents at best a willful ignorance about the connection between sports and society and at worst a desire to silence dissent.
The NBA has at times found itself out at the forefront of important social and political issues, but has rarely received the credit it perhaps deserves as a moral and political force. To paraphrase The Nation’s Dave Zirin, Sarver’s action has opened up space for other dissenters–or supporters for that matter–to step forward.
Viva Los Suns!