For Immediate Release
Thursday, July 8th, 2010
Contact: Martine Apodaca (202) 383-5989
Baseball Fans Call on Major League Baseball to Move All-Star Game Out of Arizona at Joint Protests in DC and New York
Two Days after the Department of Justice Announced Lawsuit against Arizona; Activists Intensify the Pressure on MLB
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Baseball fans and activists opposed to Arizona's harsh and discriminatory anti-immigrant law gathered outside Major League Baseball's lobbyist headquarters to protest the law and called on Major League Baseball to move the 2011 All-Star game out of Phoenix. The activists gathered outside the offices of Baker Hostetler, whose relationship with Major League Baseball "dates back almost as far as the game itself."
The protesters support the players, managers, and the MLB Players Association who have expressed opposition to Arizona's immigration enforcement law and oppose the law because it will lead to costly lawsuits, unfair burdens on local law enforcement, and widespread racial profiling. The protests come just two days after the Department of Justice announced a lawsuit against the state of Arizona to block the implementation of the discriminatory law. Protestors want the League, which crossed the color line with Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige, to take a strong principled stand against the law.
"Major League Baseball and Commissioner Selig should stand up for the hundreds of players who form the backbone of today's game, yet whose appearance and last names put them at risk of being stopped by law enforcement every time they play in Arizona," said Rich Stolz, Campaign Manager for Reform Immigration FOR America. "Holding the 2011 All-Star Game in a state where players and their families, as well as fans, are not welcome is an insult to the millions of fans and consumers who embrace baseball as our national pastime. Having the game in Phoenix also shows a lack of support to the thirty percent of major league baseball players who are Latino."
Today's protest is one of two taking place as part of a national escalation of efforts to remove the All-Star game from Arizona. The other, in New York City, was organized by the New York Immigration Coalition, and took place simultaneously outside of Major League Baseball's New York headquarters. At both locations, protestors were asking Selig to do what is right and move the game.
Moving the game is not unprecedented. The NCAA does not allow post-season events-including the Final Four-in states that fly the Confederate flag. And the NFL tangled with Arizona in the early 1990s over its refusal to recognize the MLK, Jr. holiday and ended up pulling the 1993 Super Bowl from Arizona. For its part, MLB faced down bigotry and Jim Crow laws to integrate their leagues before most American institutions, including the U.S. Military.
"The Department of Justice took action this week to prevent the implementation of Arizona's discriminatory law. Today, activists and baseball fans took action in DC and New York," said Stolz. "Major League Baseball is in a position to support their players and heed their fans. It's time for Selig and MLB to do what's right and move the game."
The Reform Immigration FOR America campaign is a coalition of more than 600 faith, labor, business, progressive, and immigration reform groups that have joined together to get comprehensive immigration reform passed. For more information please visit www.reformimmigrationforamerica.org or www.reformamigratoriaproamerica.org
CAUSA, Oregon's Immigrant Rights Coalition, is a member of the Reform Immigration FOR America coalition and is the largest Latino and Latina civil and human rights and advocacy organization in the Pacific Northwest.