Jackie Robinson, Please Come Home

Abby Zimet

Arizona's new immigration law has prompted more anger and action,
this time from baseball fans. Dozens of civil rights, immigrant rights,
labor and sports groups have called on Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig,
who has remained silent on the issue, to denounce the law, move the 2011
All-Star Game from Phoenix and pressure teams to relocate Arizona
training games
or face further boycotts. The letter, to be presented at a press
conference today, notes that over a quarter of Major League players are
Hispanic, and almost 40% are people of color. Move The Game petition here.

The letter:

Commissioner Selig,

As you know, the Governor of Arizona recently signed a controversial
new law that forces police to ask for the papers of any person who looks
"reasonably suspicious" in the course of enforcing any law or city
ordinance. The new law, SB 1070, has come under nationwide criticism for
the threat it poses to the civil rights of Hispanics living in or
visiting the state.

We are writing you today to ask that you denounce the new state law,
cancel the 2011 Major League Baseball's All-Star Game in Phoenix, and to
pressure teams to relocate all Arizona winter and spring training games
while this state law is in effect.

Under Arizona's new law, any fan of Hispanic descent visiting Phoenix
for the All-Star Game or a training game will be subject to unequal
treatment, fines, and possibly jail time if they cannot prove their
legal status on the spot.  As 15-year Tucson police officer Martin
Escobar said when he filed a lawsuit to stop the new Arizona law, there
are no "race-neutral criteria or basis to suspect or identify who is
lawfully in the United States."

Already, the Major League Baseball Players Association has publicly
denounced this unjust law, the government of Mexico has even issued
travel warnings for those visiting the state, heads of state and foreign
ministers from 12 South American nations have warned of potential
violence towards minorities and America's leading civil rights
organizations have condemned it.

Major League Baseball has a strong history of supporting minorities
and civil rights in America, which began when Jackie Robinson became the
first African-American baseball player in 1947. As you are well aware,
over a quarter of all Major League Baseball players are Latino, and
almost 40% of your players are people of color. These players - and
baseball's millions of Hispanic and immigrant fans - deserve leaders in
this moment of crisis with a loud and clear message that this law is not
acceptable to the League.

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. We hope that Major
League Baseball will once again prove to be an example of strength and
courage to those who work so hard to be a part of this country we all
love. We look forward to your response.

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