Should You Boycott the Diamondbacks?

By now, you’ve probably heard about Arizona’s proposition SB1070 — the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” — which was signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer on April 23, just two weeks after MLB announced that the 2011 All-Star Game would be held in Phoenix, for the first time ever. The law will go into effect in three months. It “requires a reasonable attempt to be made to determine the immigration status” if “reasonable suspicion exists” that the person is an illegal immigrant. Because of the high proportion of Latin and Hispanic players in baseball, and the Diamondbacks are one of the most prominent (and most mobile) of all Arizona corporations, that means that baseball — and the Arizona Diamondbacks — are caught squarely in the middle of all this.

Boycotts and picket lines for Diamondbacks games have already been threatened. There was a picket line at Coors Field yesterday, and there’s a Facebook page calling for a picket and boycott of tonight’s game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The Seattle blog HorsesAss.org called for the Mariners to pull out of the Cactus League. Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney came out in favor of a boycott of D-Backs games, and New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica called for next year’s All-Star Game to be moved out of Phoenix. The blog La Nueva Raza called for a complete boycott of all things from Arizona. So has Rep. Raul Grijalva — a Democrat from Arizona, advocating a boycott against the state he represents.

The team feels unfairly squeezed, issuing a statement to the Arizona Republic newspaper: “Although D-backs’ Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick has donated to Republican political candidates in the past, Kendrick personally opposes (Senate) Bill 1070… The D-backs have never supported (Senate) Bill 1070, nor has the team ever taken a political stance or position on any legislation.” It’s hardly a full-throated condemnation, but the team is certainly trying to set itself apart from the bill. Certainly, if any of these boycotts take hold, they could stand to lose a fair amount of cash. The issue of moving the All-Star game is bigger, though. All-Star Weekend is a major revenue driver for a city, as it lasts for days and is the center of the baseball universe for the better part of a week, with no other games taking place.

Many have pointed out that there is Arizona precedent for a sports league to relocate a major event on the basis of a disagreement with state law. In 1991, the NFL moved the 1993 Super Bowl out of Arizona after the governor canceled observance of a holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. That had an immediate effect: the holiday was approved by voters in 1992, and the 1996 Super Bowl took place in Tempe. A similar action by MLB would likely provoke a similarly strong reaction from the Arizona electorate, though a strong reaction is no guarantee of a repeal of the bill.

But is a boycott fair? Is it fair for baseball fans to punish the Arizona Diamondbacks for being based in a state which has passed a law that is unpopular in other states? Is it sensible to assume that refusing to see Diamondbacks games is the best way to change the law? Is it sensible to assume, as Dave Zirin of The Progressive writes, that “a boycott is also an expression of solidarity with Diamondback players such as Juan Gutierrez, Gerardo Parra, and Rodrigo Lopez”?

Whether or not the bill lives or dies will have little to do with whether Robert McCartney or Mike Lupica decide to go see the D-Backs when they’re in town. So it’s purely a decision about your personal morality. I’m not quite sure where I stand. What about you?

We hoped you liked reading Should You Boycott the Diamondbacks? by Alex Remington!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs




Alex is a writer for The Hardball Times, and is an enterprise account executive for The Washington Post.

newest oldest most voted
GZ
Guest
GZ

Sure it’s “fair” to punish the Diamondbacks. The point is that this law (or any law worth boycotting something over) is much bigger and more important to the boycotters than the well-being of the business being boycotted.

If you think this law is really important and really evil, then it is okay to boycott the D-Backs and any other entity, if doing so helps repeal the law.

Logi Berra
Member
Member
Logi Berra

It’s fair, sure, and there is definitely a precedent for boycotts with political motivations. But the question for me is whether the boycott can be an effective political demonstration in this case. As the article says, there is no connection between the Diamondbacks and the immigration law except that both hail from Arizona. To boycott the Diamondbacks for a crappy law would be like boycotting the Mets because of their loose connection to Citibank. It’s misguided and insensible, and I don’t think it’s going to make a damn bit of difference.

tommybones
Guest
tommybones

This type of boycott worked in the past in Arizona, when the state egregiously declined to honor the MLK Jr. holiday (notice the trend). This law is an abomination and it needs to be harshly fought with every resource available, which certainly includes boycotting Arizona businesses, due to the national implications of allowing such a horrific and discriminatory law to stand. As we speak, Texas is considering a similar law. Perhaps they change their mind when they see how much it hurt Arizona’s economy. In other words, this is much bigger than Arizona.

james
Guest
james

Instead of boycotting the diamondbacks, how about we boycott the illegal immigrants and the legal immigrants that protect them. The sheer number of illegal immigrants has become a drain on the economy and on every person that has the legal right to be in this country.

If you want laws like this to be unnecessary then do something about the cause not the effect. If you are a legal immigrant getting a card verifying that you belong here and carrying it should not be a big issue.. I have two, one is called a social security card and the other is a state issued license.

I get so sick of liberals and legal immigrants protecting these criminals and thats exactly what they are it needs to become more strict not less until all the illegals are back in the country that they belong in regardless of what country that is. If they want the rights guaranteed to them by our constitution then they need to come here legally.

Kevin S.
Member
Kevin S.

James, do you carry your social security card with you at all times? Most people I know don’t, for safety reasons. Also, a driver’s license is not proof of citizenship.

David
Guest

James – legally speaking being here illegally is not a criminal offense, but a civil matter.

B N
Guest
B N

Re: James

Show me your papers, now. Or we will have to go downtown.

The problem is not about controlling illegal immigration. It is about how you are allowed to do it. And asking people to prove that they’re citizens on the street is just not okay. It will be the result of profiling, and you know it. So let’s just not do that, k?

Not to say that all profiling is horrible. In some cases, it does in fact make sense to put extra attention on a 20-something Islamic male rather than a 90-year old grandmother on life support. Distasteful, but true. But in this case, where there is no imminent potential for harm and you’re talking about a huge portion of the population? Seriously? It’s an abuse of power.

Let’s put it this way. A Canadian and a Mexican are both living in Arizona illegally. Who gets carded first? If you know the answer to that question, this is a law that shouldn’t pass.

james
Guest
james

this is a misconception that illegal immigrants and their supporters want you to believe.

http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/uscode/8/12/II/VIII/1325

Any alien who (1) enters or attempts to enter the United States
at any time or place other than as designated by immigration
officers, or (2) eludes examination or inspection by immigration
officers, or (3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United
States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the
willful concealment of a material fact, shall, for the first
commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18 or
imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both, and, for a subsequent
commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18, or
imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.

james is wrong
Guest
james is wrong

james is wrong – it is NOT a misconception. The statute he quotes says that CROSSING THE BORDER ILLEGALLY is a crime. Being here illegally is NOT a crime, it is a civil offense. For example, someone who crosses the border legally – to shop, or on a temporary visa – and then doesn’t go back when the visa expires, has not thereby committed a criminal offense.

james
Guest
james

lol so its not really illegal for me to be in your house without your permission just the actual entering, so once im there its all good as long as im not caught in the act of coming in?

The fact that they are here without a legal right to be here just PROVES that they broke the law against entering 😉

Eddie
Guest
Eddie

Yes its fair, and I hope it works.

james is wrong
Guest
james is wrong

Learn to read, James. I will repeat this for you again. You can enter the country legally (say, on a temporary visa) and then stick around after your visa expires. In that case, you no longer have a legal status in this country, but you did not cross the border illegally (you were allowed to cross the border when you did) and you have committed no crime under U.S. law.

Alex
Guest
Alex

Way to read the entire law. You say its not against the law to enter the country legally, but stay longer you said you would. That would mean you lied when you crossed the border, right? At least about how long you would be here. That would seem to violate the part of the law that states its illegal to ” attempt to enter or obtains entry to the United
States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the
willful concealment of a material fact,” wouldn’t it?

I’m in no way stating an opinion on AZ’s law here, just pointing out that you seem to have missed a major part of this particular law that James quoted.

Paul Thomas
Guest
Paul Thomas

For that to be relevant, the person would have to have entered the US with the intent, at the time he entered, of overstaying his visa.

I’m sure that captures a percentage of overstays, but I imagine that it’s far less than half of them. Most people probably overstay because they end up in a better situation than they thought they would and want to keep a good thing going.

Alex
Guest
Alex

So you’re contention is that saying you’re just visiting the US and then deciding you’re going to stay because you like it doesn’t constitute obtaining entry to the US by a willfully false or misleading representation? I’m pretty sure a court would disagree with you on that one. The person said you were definitely going back to Mexico when in fact they were at least considering making the move illegally. I could see a few special circumstances where they might have an argument, but staying because you ended up in a better situation than you thought you would doesn’t seem like it should be one of them. Literally every single person who was here illegally could use that defense whether or not they had already decided to try and stay here illegally before they crossed the border. If a law is written in such a way that such a defense is possible, then its a terrible law that should have been rewritten almost immediately after being passed. Generally, laws with gigantic loopholes like that don’t last very long.

Ted Hoppe
Guest
Ted Hoppe

Agreed!, ask Jimmy Carter how boycotting the Olympics went.
Besides, how many people commenting here how to live with the problems that AZ has. What’s the crime rate in Phoenix? Did anyone see the movie “No Country For Old Men”? Areas to the border lands are lawless.
People commenting here seem to think illegal immigration is not costing this country, and AZ, money already. Passing this law, even if it is overturned, drew our attention to the problem AZ deals with on a daily basis.
Should we just open the border to everyone? No? Then what do we do?

Matt
Guest
Matt

America is not so much a nightmare as a non-dream. The American non-dream is precisely a move to wipe the dream out of existence. The dream is a spontaneous happening and therefore dangerous to a control system set up by the non-dreamers.

— Bill Burroughs

That, my friends, is a fun quote. Burroughs wins!

catholiclutheran
Member
catholiclutheran

Let us do evil, that good may result? Of course…the end always justifies the means. It’s baseball. Keep the political garbage in the sewer where it belongs.

You'reTheProblem
Guest
You'reTheProblem

Way to stick your head in the sand. WAKE UP. If you think a boycott is evil, you should have your head examined. Likewise, if you think baseball and politics have never collided in the past, I have a book on the Negro Leagues you should read.

catholiclutheran, you should try being a bit more Christ-like and care about the wellbeing of others.

kriscl
Guest
kriscl

I read about 50 or so comments in this thread and it is apparent that nobody has read the actual legislation. The strawman arguements involving “Native Americans” and “every brown person” were funny as hell. The joke however is on most of the people on this thread, many of whom seem to share a very liberal view of the world. If NJ, Mass., and Virginia didn’t give you a big enough hint, you are going to be hit by a landslide in November. If you think the issue of protecting illegal immigrants is a winner with the American public, then keep your insults flying. The more times you call someone a racist for wanting the law to be enforced, the more people turn away from your self-righteous form of hate. I suggest a ban on Goldman Sachs since they contributed more money to Obama than any other canidate. Why Fangraphs put this thread up is beyond me. Unless it was a lesson to illustrate how un-informed most liberals really are.