This really gave me a lift.
...The Suns voted on the jerseys and unanimously decided to wear them for Cinco De Mayo. As if he weren't likeable enough, Phoenix guard Steve Nash succinctly summed up the Suns' feelings on the issue.
"I think it's fantastic," Nash said after Tuesday's practice. "I think the law is very misguided. I think it's, unfortunately, to the detriment of our society and our civil liberties. I think it's very important for us to stand up for things we believe in. As a team and as an organization, we have a lot of love and support for all of our fans. The league is very multicultural. We have players from all over the world, and our Latino community here is very strong and important to us."
And it's not just the Suns who are speaking out on this issue. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is on board, and the team even tried to get their "Los Spurs" jerseys, though it was too late to do so. When asked for approval to wear the jerseys, the NBA "was all for it," said Suns general manager Steve Kerr. Furthermore,
NBA Players Association executive director Billy Hunter issued a press release, denouncing the law.
"The recent passage of the new immigration law in Arizona is disappointing and disturbing. The National Basketball Players Association strongly supports the repeal or immediate modification of this legislation. Any attempt to encourage, tolerate or legalize racial profiling is offensive and incompatible with basic notions of fairness and equal protection. A law that unfairly targets one group is ultimately a threat to all.
We applaud the actions of Phoenix Suns players and management and join them in taking a stand against the misguided efforts of Arizona lawmakers. We are consulting with our members and our player leadership to determine the most effective way for our union to continue to voice our opposition to this legislation."
Sports teams almost never speak out on political issues, so this might raise some eyebrows - and even some consciousness.
One of the great, human moments in U.S. sports history was Pee Wee Reese putting his arm around Jackie Robinson as they walked off the field together in front of a rabidly racist crowd. It was a turning point in the effort to integrate Major League Baseball.
I don't imagine the Suns' gesture will have the same impact. But maybe the idea will spread. And maybe some people who are on the fence about the immigration issue will take notice. Maybe they will reach the conclusion that fear, paranoia and bigotry are not "basic American values" after all.
A national habit of mind akin to the ethic of simple teamwork wouldn't be a bad thing. We are, as the saying goes, all in this together.
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