This week on Edge Of Sports Dave Zirin laid out his case for boycotting the Arizona Diamondbacks in the wake of Arizona's passage of SB-1070. Zirin says that this will be the last column he writes concerning the Diamondbacks for the foreseeable future. While I don't think that I'll be taking that route (covering 29 of 30 teams doesn't seem like it would allow a site like ours to do its best work), Rob and I support the financial boycott of the team and its owners and would like to urge any of our readers interested in social justice and the civil rights of all people to do the same.
There is a direct causal relationship between the team and this legislation. As stated in the Zirin piece, Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendricks and his family have contributed over $250,000 to the Republican party in 2010 and over $1M in total. This makes them one of the largest financial supporters in Arizona of the party sponsoring this legislation. Team founder and former owner Jerry Colangelo also has a history of supporting conservative religious and political causes that infringe on personal liberty, and some of that money had to come from running the Snakes. I understand the argument that if this caught on and actually affected the bottom line of the team it would be the lower level employees that felt it first, and that Ken Kendrick wouldn't have to start eating frozen dinners. Let's be honest, there isn't going to be a groundswell of that kind of support from most sports fans. But as sports fans who also happen to, you know, engage in the outside world and don't subscribe to the notion that THEY MUST BE SEPARATE!, the financial boycott is a viable way of being heard.
If you're unfamiliar with this issue the video embed above of a Democracy Now! interview with US Rep Raul Grijalva from Arizona is a good place to start. Noting the terrible precedent this legislation can set even he's calling for a targeted economic boycott of his own state. In these days of the Tea Party it is little surprise that he's receiving death threats.
No sport's success is as inextricably linked to the Latin people as baseball's. Without the influx of talent from Latin countries over the past 40 years the game would not be played at even close to the level it is today. It's a shame that Diamondbacks ownership sees fit to profit from that, while playing a role in the denial of basic human freedoms.