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NBA Playoffs Suns Lakers Game 1: The Lakers will have no part of Arizona immigration politics

May 16, 2010, 10:08 AM EDT

laker-logo.jpgThose Lakers, always the marketing machine.

The Suns last month made a public stand against the Arizona immigration law that has pretty much everyone up in arms one way or another. Following up their public statements of protest, the Suns wore their “Los Suns” jerseys against the Spurs for Game 3 of their playoff series. There were multiple reports that the Spurs had planned on joining the Suns by wearing their “Los Spurs” jerseys, but could not get the jerseys transported to Phoenix in time.

So with the Los Angeles City Council announcing a boycott for the city with Arizona in protest, and considering the very large percentage of Los Angeles residents who are Mexican or Latino, it’s probably reasonable to wonder if they will be making a similar stand for those in their fanbase who feel it’s unfair.

Guess again.

Time Magazine reports that the Lakers will not be involved in any political discussion, with a spokesman saying, simply, “We’re in the business of playing basketball and we’re not in the business of getting into a political debate one way or another. “

I believe the phrase he was looking for was “Americans who wont’ get pulled over for looking suspiciously immigrant buy Laker tickets too.” That’s what Jordan would have said.

Not only will the Lakers make no public statement on the issue, none of their players are electing to comment, either, one way or another.

And that’s fine. Just as it’s well within a sports organization’s rights to elect to be involved on behalf of members of their fanbase, it’s well within their rights to sit out of the discussion. No one is looking to the Lakers for leadership on political issues. And it’s not like those that make up the Staples crowd are going to be directly affected by any such legislation in California, Arizona while visiting, or elsewhere. The odds of a white, high priced movie producer who can afford Lakers lower-bowl tickets getting pulled over in Arizona are unlikely, right?  Not like Jack Nicholson’s got a lot of worries about getting asked for his papers under this new law. And I’m sure those Mexicans and Latinos that can afford tickets to LA’s playoff games have their papers in order and on them at all times, or wouldn’t prompt the “reasonable suspicion” the law calls for in order to be stopped if they were to visit Arizona.

It should be noted that the Lakers are highly active in their community, and both Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher have spoken out publicly in the past in regards to the genocide being committed in Darfur. And to be fair, it’s not like California is enacting these controversial policies. It’s the Suns’ problem, and even then a great many Arizona residents support the bill, as I’m sure many Californians do and would like to see the same in the Golden State.

It’s the safe move for the Lakers. And those that say that sports entities and personalities have no business in getting involved in politics make a strong argument. Just because something’s easy doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. So if you’re a fan of teams not getting involved in political messes, even if a large portion of their fanbase happen to be affected by that mess, you should give the Lakers a hand today. They stood up for not standing up and knowing their place in society.

And hey, “Laguneros” is really long and doesn’t look as cool.

  1. Craig W. - May 16, 2010 at 11:23 AM

    “…knowing your place in society.”
    Yup! I know what you meant with that statement. Let’s just say that wasn’t the best choice of words to express your feelings.
    While you may celebrate the Lakers staying out of a political debate that has many fans on both sides, sometimes how laws are worded (coded) are particularly odious. While immigration may be a legitimate issue, when you start calling people ‘boy’ or pass a law authorizing citizens to sue their police if they don’t question enough ‘immigrants’, you are way out on the fringe of today’s society.

  2. mrcleanj - May 16, 2010 at 1:24 PM

    I don’t know Matt Moore who is the author of this piece, but, Craig I think you are missing the ironic nature of what he is saying. When Matt mentions “knowing your place in society”, I think he is saying that the Lakers owe it to themselves and to their fans to take a stand on such a controversial issue. Arizona was the last state to adopt the Martin Luther King holiday and still showing their true colors by saying “what’s wrong with passing a law that specifically discriminates against a particular group of people?” The immigration problem is a big one and one that has no easy solutions, but to pass a law like this one is taking the low road of bigotry and racism to a new low.

  3. GJ - May 16, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    Matt, Matt…Matt,
    You are a good writer, but you really need to find more positive inspiration than your hatred for the Lakers. Give it a rest. Now your are going to stir up another nest of trolls spewing their rude comments at each other. Stick with the good stuff Matt; you, me and all the rest are better for it when you do.

  4. Bizzle - May 16, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    Truth

  5. Remery - May 16, 2010 at 8:26 PM

    The Lakers DO NOT enact laws and nor has anyone complained of racial profiling by the Lakers. Sports have nothing to do with the issue other than provide an avenue for misguided fools to go after someone financially who simply disagrees with them, simple Hooliganism. Definitely UnAmerican and a violation of people’s rights in this country to express an opinion.

  6. Ron - May 16, 2010 at 10:46 PM

    Could not have said it better myself.
    Matt Moore needs to get a life, that is all there is to it. He is a good writer, but if you read the article, he really isn’t making a point at all. It’s a bunch of nothing that some people may get riled over if they read only part of it.
    That is the problem with blog writers. They write a lot, but really don’t SAY anything at all. It’s superfluous at best. This article fits right in.

  7. Ertdfg - May 17, 2010 at 1:43 AM

    Arizona was the last state to adopt the Martin Luther King holiday and still showing their true colors by saying “what’s wrong with passing a law that specifically discriminates against a particular group of people?” – mrcleanj
    Right, you’ve got it. Sure they had more rapes, kidnappings, and murders from being a border state; but trying to stop this isn’t a solution. They should embrace the multi-cultural heritage of kidnapping, rape, and murder that they’re blessed to enjoy… right?
    Or is it necessary to ignore the uptick in crime, and the fact that Phoenix is the kidnapping capital of the US, and in the top 5 worldwide? Should we ignore the crime and just pretend like it doesn’t happen?
    Or should we ignore that illegal immigration is a big factor in the kidnappings, murder, and crime in Arizona?
    Yes, if we ignore enough facts it is easy to attack Arizona for passing this law; but when you see what their situation is, why they’re doing it is a lot more clear… and it isn’t really racism regardless how many times you claim otherwise.
    It’s an unwillingness to accept and embrace lawlessness. Once you’ve had enough illegals cross the border to commit crimes in your state; you also might think that perhaps trying to limit the influx of illegals would be a good idea… you might not even care that people are calling you a racist for this.

  8. Mick Patriot - May 17, 2010 at 1:40 PM

    Please! This is not about legal immigration.
    Illegal is illegal!
    Crossing the border illegally has built in risks. Like being caught and sent home. That is the law. Arizona’s new law asks everyone if they are here legally here or not! Not just hispanics! Since hispanics maybe the number one violators of the law is not a problem of the law. It is a problem of border security and police not being able to ask if you are here legally or not. With the new law they can ask without getting sued. Had this law been applied at a national level years ago illegal immigration would not be the problem it is today. I have nothing against law abiding people but illegal immigrants do not fit that catagory! And it is only the tip of the illegal activity. So let us get it straight. It is not an immigration issue. It is a legal issue which illegal immigrants are on the wrong side of!

  9. Brian - May 17, 2010 at 3:32 PM

    Well said. Tired of the minority of the people trying to control what the majority, the informed, want. Read the law before you pop off. Unlike our own Attorney General who pops off on how the constitutionality is in question, promotes racism, etc and then acknowledges, as of late last week, he has not even read the 10 page bill.
    I have friends in Arizona. Their are many people on ranches afraid, and being vandalized. Where are all the people supporting our own Americans? IT is so hypocritical, it is not even funny. The ONLY comfort I get out of this is how it shows the “true ignorance” of those protesting the law in Arizona.
    If you went to a Canadian Hockey game, IN CANADA, and arrested 10% of the people, I “bet” the odds are most of them will be Canadian. And is that targeting Canadians. No. Simple math.

  10. GregoryJ - May 17, 2010 at 6:10 PM

    Brian, from where I sit, it sure looks like you Los Angelenos are being a tab bit hypocritical. I live in Arizona and I have to put up with a bunch of idiot legislators and a weak-kneed governor who is running for her life in a GOP election contest this summer. But where the hell do you get off boycotting the whole state or calling the whole state bigots? I don’t agree with the damn law and will do everything I can to get rid of it but I didn’t vote for it and neither did the rest of my fellow Arizonans (including the misguided ones who think it is a good idea.) It was a bill passed by a GOP controlled legislature. In contrast, California, the whole state and not the legislature, voted against gay marriage in the last election. It seems like a bigoted law and a bigoted vote so why didn’t Los Angeles vote to boycott the whole state of California? The whole thing is out of control but I can tell you two things… 1) your (Los Angeles’s) hypocrisy is pissing me off and 2) boycotts are not going to change the knuckleheads running AZ politics in the slightest so it is truly a waste of breath.

  11. Tom B - May 17, 2010 at 7:07 PM

    Race isn’t even the issue here, race is the cop out. It is the single easiest way to rile people up and take the focus off of the real issues and problems here. I was born in Phx and have lived here my entire life besides a tour in Iraq and this race card being thrown is complete BS. The truth is that there are 500,000 “illegals” (the name says it all) who snuck into our country in the middle of the night to be with legal family and friends (or for much worse reasons) who now will for sure be jailed and sent back to their own country if they dont leave on their own. Enforcement is and has always been the real issue here. This has ALWAYS been FEDERALLY illegal but there never was an issue on their side because there was no one here to enforce it. These horrible Nazi “papers” that are going to be asked for are a work visa or a green card, both the same size and shape of a drivers license. Do you EVER leave your house on purpose without your license or your wallet? No? You know who does? People who snuck into this state, dont pay taxes, have to do illegal work or sell drugs or worse, or steal someones SS number and ruin their credit (#1 in the nation there too and has happened to nearly everyone i know here) in order to get anything, a license, cell phone, bank account, job, etc. What happens when a cop pulls you over? Liscense, registration, proof of insurance, regardless of color, EVERY time. If a passenger in the car is acting nervous or sketchy in any way, the officer asks for their ID too. What does an officer do if the person has no ID, no name or prints on file, and are grown adults who cant speak a word of our own country’s language? Before this law nothing would happen, you cant prove who you are or why your here, or whether you have any warrants, but get sent on your way like the rest of us. If we had half a million Canadians or Germans or Pakistanis sneaking in with no known background it would be the same, except white people with an accent or who spoke only german or arabic would be asked to prove themselves. Our state is $400,000,000 in debt and none of these people help. Those of us who can legally vote are voting tomorrow to increase our State tax so our children dont have to double their classroom sizes. Are illegals going to help pay these taxes? Nope. Are their children in our schools with us paying for them? Yep. Theres a reason that we dont care if you call us racist or boycott us, its because we know the truth. And the truth is that a half a million people cannot hide out forever in this state anymore and leach off of the rest of us, so their friends and families who will now get in trouble for hiding them cry race because its all they’ve got. With over 70 percent of the country siding with Az, it isnt going to work.

  12. Tom B - May 17, 2010 at 7:46 PM

    Oh, and i almost forgot to remind you how hypocritical Mexico is. The same Mexico that has the worst drug crime rate in the world, who decided to issue statements of boycotts and racism, and condemnation towards our state. Article 67 of Mexico’s Population Law states, and I quote “Authorities, whether federal, state, or municipal are REQUIRED to DEMAND that foreigners prove their legal status in the country, BEFORE attending to ANY other issues.” Way worse than the law in Arizona, and yet they can pull the race card on us? Please… And the best part is that our “racist” officers in Arizona dont require a $20 or more bribe from foreigners when they pull you over. And what makes you seem like a foreigner in Mexico? Black or White skin? Speaking English or bad spanish? Makes sense, and if the hassle outweighed the reward of going down to Rocky Point Mexico, then I would stay in Arizona, not smear Nazi signs on Mexico’s capital building.

  13. Tom B - May 17, 2010 at 7:47 PM

    Oh, and i almost forgot to remind you how hypocritical Mexico is. The same Mexico that has the worst drug crime rate in the world, who decided to issue statements of boycotts and racism, and condemnation towards our state. Article 67 of Mexico’s Population Law states, and I quote “Authorities, whether federal, state, or municipal are REQUIRED to DEMAND that foreigners prove their legal status in the country, BEFORE attending to ANY other issues.” Way worse than the law in Arizona, and yet they can pull the race card on us? Please… And the best part is that our “racist” officers in Arizona dont require a $20 or more bribe from foreigners when they pull you over. And what makes you seem like a foreigner in Mexico? Black or White skin? Speaking English or bad spanish? Makes sense, and if the hassle outweighed the reward of going down to Rocky Point Mexico, then I would stay in Arizona, not smear Nazi signs on Mexico’s capital building.

  14. Brian - May 17, 2010 at 8:12 PM

    I understand your venting and totally agree with you on the boycott issue for the same reasons, even though I am totally in favor of your new law and you are not. But the boycotting issue just goes to show how stupid politicians and political activist groups are.
    Someone wrote in that the LA Times has their collection handling (billing) sent to Arizona so they suggested we not pay for the Times and boycott their Arizona location. First off, I do not subscribe to the times because of their far liberal agenda. Second, a boycott hurts the individual US citizens, and the lower economic level hotel industry workers, etc etc So, they are hurting innocent people to deal with something that is none of their business anyways. Even if the law was bad, which I think it is not, the boycott is ill advised, and misdirected. There I am in total agreement.
    Kind of like this whole thing with Phil Jackson who was asked about the ARizona law usurping the federal law, and he said if you read it, it is basically a copy of the federal law etc, and now all the activists want his head. Please, the over reaction is worse than the law itself.
    Anyways, at least we agree that our boycott of Arizona is assanine at best. I am doing all I can to do the opposite and have booked some extra days in Phoenix for a Volleyball tourey in July, and will bring a few more of my family along, and have scheduled a trip to the River also.

  15. BRian - May 17, 2010 at 8:33 PM

    Also, I prefer not to have any connection with Los Angeles. They are way out in left field, along with San Francisco. I live in South Orange County where people think more rationally and normal. The Mayor of LA is about as worthless as , well , I will not print it.
    Most people who do not live in LA, and even a lot of them that do, are totally embarrassed by this and just about everything else they do. So, please, do not lump us Southern Californians with them.

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