May 17, 2010

(The above video is from an NBC News report which opened up the show, so it's big news in LA)

Phil Jackson caused a pretty big controversy by saying that he agrees with Arizona's new draconian immigration law and it's hitting the news pretty hard right before they begin their playoff series against Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns. I can't tell you how sad it is to see Phil act like a pompous jackass and diss the entire Phoenix Suns organization. He's entitled to his opinion on the issue of course, but not only does he support the law, he seems to be channeling Kris Kobach in the process.

ABC7 reports:

Immigration activists plan to picket outside Monday's Lakers-Phoenix NBA playoff game at Staples Center because Lakers coach Phil Jackson declined to criticize Arizona's recently adopted illegal immigration law.

"Am I crazy, or am I the only one that heard when the legislators said that `we just took United States immigration law and adapted it to our state?"' Jackson said during his pregame news conference May 4.

Jackson made his comments in response to a question from columnist J.A. Adande about his thoughts on Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver having his team wear its "Los Suns" jerseys for their May 5 game partly in response to the law and partly because of the Cinco de Mayo celebration. Jackson then asked Adande if his interpretation of the law was correct. Adande said Arizona "usurped the federal law."

Jackson disagreed, saying "it's not usurping, they just copied it, is what they said they did, the legislators. Then they give it some teeth to be able to enforce it."

Protests are planned on Monday at the Staples Center.

It was unclear if that was a factor in his comments, which prompted the Mexican-American Political Association and Southern California Immigration Coalition to decide to picket Monday's game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the Suns.

"We are not happy with the position that Phil Jackson took," Nativo Lopez, the national president of the Mexican-American Political Association said. "We want to call on Jackson and the Lakers to put on their Los Lakers jerseys, especially considering the tremendous support that the Lakers have enjoyed from the communities specifically targeted by the misguided and racist Arizona law."

The groups also "want to welcome Los Suns of Arizona and thank them for the symbolic support," Lopez said.

C&L readers know how I feel about sports. It's a getaway for myself and a lot of us, but this has become a real moral issue, and remaining silent or ignoring it is not an option for me. If owners of teams can pump millions of dollars into extreme right-wing policies and candidates -- which is happening in Arizona right now -- then we can speak out against them.

Up to this point, I've focused largely on Bud Selig and the MLB and I helped form a broad activist coalition that sent out a letter demanding Selig join with the MLBPA (Players Union) and denounce the law and pull the 2011 All Star Game from Arizona, along with pushing protests of Arizona Diamondbacks games because of their ownership's involvement in Arizona Republican politics.

I've also praised the Suns and Steve Nash for showing real courage to lead the way against SB 1070 and stayed away from the Lakers. Phil brought me in.

If you're in LA and can get to Staples, please do.

UPDATE: The Zen Master was being a super hypocrite in this ESPN piece because in the middle of the article he says that "teams" shouldn't be involved in political stuff and then he gets involved in political stuff and defends Kobach's Arizona law to justify his support for SB1070. If he wanted no part of this debate he could have said that he's just worried about beating the Suns, but he didn't.

"I don't think teams should get involved in the political stuff," Jackson said. "I think this one is still kind of coming out to balance as to how it is going to favorably looked upon by ... the public.

"If I heard right, the American people are really for stronger immigration laws, if I'm not mistaken. Where we stand as basketball teams, we should let that kind of play out and let the political end of that go where it's going to go."

Here's a great takedown of Kris Kochach's lie that all Arizona is doing is enforcing laws already on the books.

Subsequently, even U.S. citizens could be held until someone from Immigration and Customs Enforcement is called to sort them out. Keep in mind that a cop can stop someone and begin the process during the "enforcement of any other law or ordinance of a county, city or town or this state." That's so broad as to include weed abatement and barking dogs.(I should mention that none of this claptrap is "mirrored" in federal law, nor are the provisions dealing with day laborers and traffic, nor -- more importantly -- is allowing a state the privilege of writing its own immigration statutes.)

If there's a crime or ordinance being broken nearby where you are, and a cop stops you to question you about it, it opens the door for this process to begin. Even if you are a U.S. citizen, you will be presumed to be an alien "unlawfully present" unless you have one of the above stated IDs -- assuming a cop has "reasonable suspicion" to think you're undocumented.

Kobach and his pawns in the state legislature later changed the law, which originally stated that a cop cannot "solely consider race, color or national origin." They've since taken the "solely" out, and they claim this means there will be no racial profiling.

This is highly disingenuous to say the least, when the "intent" of the law is to make "attrition through enforcement" the policy of the state. As the nativist Center for Immigration Studies has defined this loaded term, it means making life so difficult for illegal immigrants that they will self-deport. Since the vast majority of Arizona's estimated 500,000 unauthorized aliens are from Mexico or Central America, it is reasonable to conclude that Latinos in Arizona will bear the brunt of police scrutiny. So when someone slaps the "ethnic cleansing" label on the law, a label Nowicki is uncomfortable with, they are essentially correct... read on.

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