Senate’s Sole Latino Joins Call for Arizona Baseball Boycott

By Jorge Rivas May 11, 2010

Last Thursday the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest Latino civil rights organization in the United States, announced plans to boycott the state of Arizona. The campaign calls groups (including churches and corporations) and "ordinary citizens" across the country to denounce SB 1070 and pledge not to hold major conventions or any travel to state of Arizona. One of the demands in NCLR’s campaign is also directed towards one of the biggest moneymaking events in the state: the 2011 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Phoenix. Michael Weiner, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), issued a statement opposing SB 1070 shortly after it passed. But another big name is putting pressure on him to boycott the All-Star game. Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the Senate’s sole Latino, sent a letter to Weiner and his players to consider boycotting the 2011 MLB All Star Game. In the letter to Weiner, Menendez makes a pretty compelling, emotional argument:

As you and I both know, Major League Baseball (MLB) is truly a multicultural, international sport. In fact, Latinos represent 27 percent of all MLB players and 28 percent of MLB players are foreign born. These players come to the United States legally and should not be subjected to the humiliation and harassment that SB1070 would inflict. Imagine if your players and their families were subjected to interrogation by law enforcement, simply because they look a certain way. Imagine if MLB fans – many of whom are Hispanic – were subjected to that same type of interrogation if they were to attend the All Star Game. That would truly be an embarrassment and an injustice, not only to MLB, but to the values and ideals we hold as Americans. … In this moment of crisis, these players – and baseball’s millions of Latino and immigrant fans – deserve a loud and clear message that the League finds this law unacceptable. We strongly urge you to relocate the 2011 All-Star Game from Phoenix and to pressure teams to pull all winter and spring training games from Arizona while this un-American law is in effect."

NCLR says the boycott will remain in effect until SB 1070 is "repealed, overturned by the courts or superseded by comprehensive federal immigration legislation." Read Sen. Menendez’s full letter after the jump. Image by: Ken Lund