Dave Zirin Is Boycotting the MLB All-Star Game in Arizona

The sportswriter says that Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig clearly loves the symbolism of civil rights more than the sacrifice.

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2011 MLB All-Star Game (Getty)

Dave Zirin of the Nation is incensed over Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig's refusal to move the 2011 All-Star game out of Arizona amid strident anti-immigration legislation. The league is almost 28 percent Latino, and Zirin believes that it should do right by its players by rejecting Arizona as a site because of the anti-immigrant legislation and rhetoric coming from the state and its elected officials.

Zirin questions Selig's commitment to civil rights, saying that his failure to move the game makes a mockery of baseball's tradition of civil rights action. What do you think? Should Selig have moved the All-Star Game from Arizona? Check out what Zirin has to say in this excerpt:

Over the last year, civil rights organizations, politicians, sportswriters and baseball players have asked Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to move Tuesday's 2011 All-Star Game out of Arizona. He chose not to listen and now I choose not to watch. If I lived within a day’s travel of Arizona, I'd be choosing to protest at the stadium gates. Ever since Arizona passed its darkly punitive racial profiling law SB 1070, thousands of people have pleaded with Selig to do the right thing and move the game. Baseball is 27.7 percent Latino. It's a sport dependent on Latin American talent from the baseball academies of the Dominican Republic to today’s biggest stars, Albert Pujols and Adrian Gonzalez. Even more, Major League Baseball has prided itself -- and marketed itself -- on historically being more than just a game. Bud Selig, in particular, is a man who publicly venerates the game's civil rights tradition. Jackie Robinson's number is retired and visible in every park and the great Roberto Clemente in death has become a true baseball saint. But Selig's inaction makes his tributes to the past look as hollow as Sammy Sosa's old bat.

Selig clearly loves the symbolism of civil rights more than the sacrifice. The presence of the game will mean a financial windfall for the state as well as for Arizona Diamondback owner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick is a first-tier right-wing money bundler who has let the state politicians behind SB 1070 use his owner’s box for fundraisers. The game will also mean a national spotlight for the vile Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona’s Maricopa County, our twenty-first-century Bull Conner. Arpaio has been threatening to bring down his pink-clad chain gang to clean up outside the stadium.

Selig is not the only one backing down from the moment. The Major League Players Association issued a very strong statement last year against SB 1070 and hinted that a boycott might be in the cards, saying they would "consider additional measures to protect the interests of our members." Earlier this week, after months of silence, Executive Director Michael Weiner, said, "SB 1070 is not in effect and key portions of the law have been judged unlawful by the federal courts. Under all the circumstances, we have not asked players to refrain from participating in any All-Star activities." To say SB 1070 "is not in effect" is sophistry ...

Read more at the Nation

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