We touched on Sheriff Joe a few minutes ago. In other All-Star Game/illegal immigration news, there was a lot of talk last year about potential player boycotts and the like as a result of Arizona’s tough immigration law, S.B. 1070. That has largely subsided, partially because parts of the bill are currently in legal limbo, but also because, let’s face it, most modern baseball players aren’t really willing to create a giant poopstorm over a political issue.
Personally I would respect the living hell out of a ballplayer who took a principled stand like that, but I can’t say that I blame them for not doing it. We as a society don’t reward celebrities and athletes when they stray from their areas of core competency, and if Adrian Gonzalez or someone did loudly boycott the All-Star Game, they’d quickly find themselves in a dreadful fight that no healthy and sane person would want to be the focus of.
Acknowledging that, Mike Weiner of the player’s union released a statement today which will in all likelihood be the last word on the matter. As is usually the case with Weiner, it’s reasonable and temperate:
“On April 30, 2010, the MLBPA expressed publicly its opposition to SB 1070, and that position remains unchanged. We stated then that, if SB 1070 as written went into effect, we would consider additional measures to protect the interests of our members. 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.
“The All-Star Game is an opportunity to celebrate the best that Major League Baseball has to offer. Without question, the best players are here. Each All-Star squad, as with each of the 30 Major League teams, is populated by the best players from baseball-playing countries around the globe.
“But the All Star Game is a chance to celebrate even more than that. It is a chance to celebrate Major League Baseball’s unprejudiced commitment to excellence – a commitment, undiminished for decades, to judge solely on the basis of individual ability and achievement. It is a chance to celebrate how much the game has been enriched by the contributions of players of different races, ethnicities and nationalities. It’s a chance to celebrate — to marvel, actually — at the example set every time a Major League team takes the field: that of a true team, composed of players of widely different backgrounds, working together towards a common goal.
“Our nation continues to wrestle with serious issues regarding immigration, prejudice and the protection of individual liberties. Those matters will not be resolved at Chase Field, nor on any baseball diamond; instead they will be addressed in Congress and in statehouses and in courts by those charged to find the right balance among the competing and sincerely held positions brought to the debate. Meanwhile, at the All Star Game, Major League Baseball makes good on its promise to field the best in the world in the only way it can — by allowing the world to play. That truly is an occasion to celebrate and, perhaps, from which we all can learn.”