No Layup: Phoenix Suns Take Immigration Stance

NBA Owner Injects Himself and His Team Into a Political Controversy

Responding to Arizona’s controversial new immigration law, the owner of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns issued a statement saying his team will wear uniforms emblazoned with “Los Suns” on Cinco de Mayo. Donning the jerseys is a way “to honor our Latino community and the diversity of our league, the state of Arizona, and our nation” wrote Suns owner Robert Sarver. What effect might Sarver's remarks have on the immigration debate?

  • J.A. Adande of ESPN applauds the Suns'  stand. “Good for Sarver. The only time we're used to seeing pro sports team owners take a public stance on a political legislation is when there's a stadium funding bill on the ballot," he writes.
  • Allahpundit of the conservative blog Hot Air predicts the “Los Suns” gambit will probably backfire. “Amnesty shills will love it but a larger number of amnesty opponents will hate it, and a swath of people in the middle will wonder why they’re being treated to political propaganda when all they want to do is watch hoops,” Allahpundit writes.
  • Matt Yglesias of the left-leaning Think Progress supports the Suns'  jersey decision because of the larger message it sends about the league. “In general, it says good things about the National Basketball Association that foreigners with top-notch basketball skills generally want to come here and play," he writes. "And the flow of foreign talent to our shores makes the NBA a better product—indeed, an iconic global brand that’s marketed internationally as a U.S. export.”
  • Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic says it's all about the money. “Sarver is a banker by trade, and his stance is as much about money as it is about civil rights," he writes. "As a businessman, he does not want to see economic boycotts, canceled conventions and big events removed from our region. That lowers the tide for everyone in Arizona, at a time when his basketball team is struggling to sell tickets for playoff games."
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