Monday, May 10, 2010
There's a reason why we don't elect basketball teams to set public policy.
The Phoenix Suns are a good reminder.
No matter what you think of the new illegal immigration law in Arizona, it's fair to say that just putting a “Los” in front of your team name is not going to lead to solutions.
The problems Arizona face right now with their hopelessly porous southern border, are myriad.
The Suns stance – and they insist it is not a stance, per se, just a recognition of the proud latino community – is not a serious one. They offer no amendments to the law they purport to oppose. They offer no alternate solution.
They don't even give lip service to the seriousness or complexity of the problem.
To just put a “Los” out there, does nothing. Not for a civic/law enforcement/constitutional issue like this. It is the equivalent of reducing the entirety of United States foreign policy to a t-shirt that says “Make Love, Not War.”
I don't have a particular stance on this law, because I have not read it in its entirety. I don't care to. I don't live in Arizona.
Yet, these facts haven't stopped the usual chorus of sportswriters who live far, far, away, to write the utterly predictable. Few of them have read the whole bill. Few of them have interviewed local lawmakers to get a perspective on what is in the bill, and how it will be implemented.
And I haven't read one sportswriter who thinks the bill is sensible and fair.
Hmmm. Isn't that interesting?
I find it also rather amazing that not a single Suns player or executive felt comfortable enough with the tolerance of diversity of opinion these days, to come out and say respectfully: “You know, I think the organization is wrong here. I'm disappointed we're doing this.”
Well then, I guess it's just that simple. The Phoenix Suns are wise, enlightened, and sensibly color blind. And the democratically elected legislature of Arizona, and the democratically elected governor are complete idiots, morally bankrupt, and probably racist.
Nah. Strike probably. Those racists!
Is it “appropriate” for the Suns to go “Los” on this issue, or other leagues like MLB to pull the All-Star Game next year? Should sports and politics mix like this?
No. Of course it's not appropriate.
Not because the Suns are not “entitled” to make such a choice. They can do whatever they like with their name and jerseys. It's not appropriate because their actions add nothing to the public discourse on the issue. The Suns were not there when the bill was being formulated. They won't be there after it's put into action. And they have no capacity or desire to write public policy.
So they should do themselves a favor, and shut the hell up and play basketball.
If Steve Nash still thinks the law is crap, he's welcome to say: “I hate this law, think it's wrong, and if it's not changed before next season, I'm demanding a trade.”
As a Canadian, it must be nice to have a super rich, peaceful, common language speaking neighbor to the south. One that doesn't invade their country illegally by the millions through Moose Jaw and Thunder Bay. One that doesn't shoot the crime rate through the roof in Medicine Hat, or flood the schools with non-english speaking immigrants in Saskatoon.
How about this, Steve. We'll trade you Arizona and New Mexico for British Columbia and Alberta. Then you can figure it out.
And if MLB or the NFL decides to jump in on this issue – which I doubt, because of the logistics involved in yanking an All-Star Game or Super Bowl – then they will officially be in the business of passing judgment on state lawmaking of all kinds.
To which their sensitivity and “doing good” shall have no end.