May 11, 2010
Dear Commissioner Selig:
As you know, the Governor of Arizona recently signed a controversial new law that forces police to ask for the papers of any person who looks “reasonably suspicious” in the course of enforcing any law or city ordinance. The new law, SB 1070, has come under nationwide criticism for the threat it poses to the civil rights of Hispanics living in or visiting the state.
We are writing you today to ask that you denounce the new state law, cancel the 2011 Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game in Phoenix, and to pressure teams to relocate all Arizona winter and spring training games while this state law is in effect.
Under Arizona’s new law, any fan of Hispanic descent visiting Phoenix for the All-Star Game or a training game will be subject to unequal treatment, fines, and possibly jail time if they cannot prove their legal status on the spot. As 15-year Tucson police officer Martin Escobar said when he filed a lawsuit to stop the new Arizona law, there are no “race-neutral criteria or basis to suspect or identify who is lawfully in the United States.”
Already, the Major League Baseball Players Association has publicly denounced this unjust law, the government of Mexico has even issued travel warnings for those visiting the state, heads of state and foreign ministers from 12 South American nations have warned of potential violence towards minorities and America’s leading civil rights organizations have condemned it.
Major League Baseball has a strong history of supporting minorities and civil rights in America, which began when Jackie Robinson became the first African-American baseball player in 1947. As you are well aware, over a quarter of all Major League Baseball players are Latino, and almost 40% of your players are people of color. These players – and baseball’s millions of Hispanic and immigrant fans – deserve leaders in this moment of crisis with a loud and clear message that this law is not acceptable to the League.
We strongly urge you to relocate the 2011 All-Star Game from Phoenix and to pressure teams to pull all winter and spring training games from Arizona while this un-American law is in effect. We hope that Major League Baseball will once again prove to be an example of strength and courage to those who work so hard to be a part of this country we all love. We look forward to your response.
Richard Trumka, President, AFL-CIO
Frank Sharry, Founder and Executive Director, America’s Voice
Howie Klein, Founder and Treasurer, Blue America PAC
Jennifer Allen, Executive Director, Border Action Network
Enrique Morones, Executive Director, Border Angels (Former VP of Latino Marketing, San Diego Padres)
Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director, Center for Community Change
The Rev. David L. Ostendorf, Founder & Executive Director, Center for New Community
Leone Jose Bicchieri, Executive Director, Chicago Workers Collaborative
Rick Jacobs, Founder and Chair, Courage Campaign
John Amato, Founder & President, CrooksandLiars.com
Markos Moulitsas Zúñiga, Founder and Publisher, Daily Kos
Jorge Mursuli, President and CEO, Democracia USA
Digby, Founder and Publisher, Hullaballoo
Joshua Hoyt, Executive Director, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Hector Sanchez, Executive Director, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement
Marisa Treviño, Founder and Publisher, LatinaLista.net
Manuel Guzmán, Founder and Publisher, Latino Politico
Julio Pabon, Publisher, LatinoSports.com
MoveOn.org Political Action
Doug Gordon, Co-Founder, MovetheGame.org, Vice President, Fenton
Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director, National Day Laborer Organizing Network
Inez Gonzalez, Executive Vice President, National Hispanic Media Coalition
Clarissa Martinez, Director of Immigration & National Campaigns, NCLR
Chung-Wha Hong, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition
Michael Keegan, President, People For the American Way
Roberto Lovato, Co-Founder, Presente.org
Eliseo Medina, International Executive Vice President, SEIU
Maegan “la Mamita Mala” Ortiz, Co-Founder, VivirLatino.com
Josh Norek, Deputy Director, Voto Latino
Jehmu Greene President, Women’s Media Center