Baseball Players Begin to Speak Out against Arizona Immigration Law

Monday, May 03, 2010
Adrian Gonzalez (photo: Greg Eichelberger)

Count professional baseball players and their union among the growing chorus speaking out against Arizona’s new immigration law. The law, which will require anyone stopped by law enforcement on suspicion of being an illegal immigrant to show proof of legal status or citizenship, has been criticized by numerous Major League Baseball (MLB) players of Hispanic origin, who make up nearly 28% of the players on MLB teams.

Catcher Yorvit Torrealba of the San Diego Padres, who was born in Venezuela, told the San Diego Union-Tribune, “Why do I want to go play in a place where every time I go to a restaurant and they don't understand what I'm trying to order, they're going to ask me for ID first? That's bull. I come from a crazy country. Now Arizona seems a little bit more crazy.”
Torrealba’s teammate, All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who has dual U.S.-Mexican citizenship, said: “It goes against what this country was built on. This is discrimination. Are they going to pass out a picture saying ‘You should look like this and you’re fine,’ but if you don’t, do people have the right to question you? That’s profiling.”
New York Mets catcher Rod Barajas, who was born in the United States after his parents emigrated from Mexico, told The New York Times, “If they happen to pull someone over who looks like they are of Latin descent, even if they are a U.S. citizen, that is the first question that is going to be asked. But if a blond-haired, blue-eyed Canadian gets pulled over, do you think they are going to ask for their papers? No.”
Michael Weiner, head of the Major League Baseball Players Association, issued a statement that said, “during the season, hundreds of international players on opposing major league teams travel to Arizona to play the Diamondbacks. And, the spring training homes of half of the 30 major league teams are now in Arizona. All of these players, as well as their families, could be adversely affected, even though their presence in the United States is legal. Each of them must be ready to prove, at any time, his identity and the legality of his being in Arizona to any state or local official with suspicion of his immigration status. This law also may affect players who are US citizens but are suspected by law enforcement of being of foreign descent.”
In June, one month before the law goes into effect, about 140 young Hispanic baseball players will arrive in the state for the Arizona Rookie League. Some MLB officials are worried how these young men will be treated by local authorities.
This is not the first time that Arizona has clashed with a professional sports league. The National Football League (NFL) awarded the 1993 Super Bowl to Tempe, Arizona, but when Arizona voters refused to create a state holiday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., the NFL took the Super Bowl away from the state. Arizonians approved the holiday in 1992, and Tempe hosted the 1996 Super Bowl.
-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
Arizona Immigration Law Criticized by Mets’ Barajas (by David Waldstein, New York Times)
Padres Weigh in on Arizona Law (by Chris Jenkins, San Diego Union-Tribune)
Baseball Alarmed by Arizona Immigration Law (by Jeff Passan, Yahoo Sports)


meh 12 years ago
More publicity hype just like Shakira and Ricky Martin... Anyone who makes any asinine statements about this law simply has not read the bill. I am an American born in California with Mexican ancestry. However, everyone who I asked who is against this bill has not read the bill. They have all their 'facts' from the media, interest groups, friends, or otherwise. As Tammy stated, this is not about Mexicans or 'hispanics' being targeted as victims of racial profiling and therefore illegal. This is simply about being here ILLEGALLY. Read the bill. I mean, com'on. Why would you not have your state issued ID, passport, credentials, or student visa, etc. on you? If you get stopped over in other countries, you get your ass handled. Thus, if you fail to show any documents, they take you in to screen you and so forth. And as Mike mentioned... it's ironic that mainly hispanics (and they don't speak on my behalf) are upset about this... Why do they not go protest in Mexico City? The souther borders of Mexico are ATROCIOUS. They treat Central and South Americans who are trying to go through Mexico to get to the US beyond inhumanely. But I assume boycotting and protesting against your own country of origin would seem just ridiculous... but not in America.
Jack 12 years ago
Al, its different. The federal government doesn't control the local police that everyone sees everyday. Similar to Phil's point, yes, if I'm planning to do air travel, I understand there are certain civil liberties that I must give up in order to provide security and safety to the rest of the air travelers and others. However, I shouldn't feel like I'll be interrogated during my day to day activity. Or do you think that is okay? D. Porter... I'm having a real hard time understanding what you're trying to say. I guess standing up for the ideals and values that founded this country is America-hating. This country would be nothing if it weren't for the immigrants here. America is great because this is a country where anyone has a chance to make it. Often (not always), the best, the motivated and the grateful end up in this country, love it, and make it better. I'd like to keep it that way. Out of 320 "American" Nobel laureates awarded, 25% of them were foreign born. American does a great job of attracting bright minds and ambitious personalities. And that is why this country is great. Phil - Under that same reasoning, government officials should be able to enter and search your home at any time. You haven't done anything wrong. Nothing to worry about, right? Who cares about the 4th amendment. And people wonder why America is so hated around the world. Maybe its because of our idiotic intolerance and mistreatment of people who aren't part of the Aryan race. Repeated intolerance. We have quite a few embarrassing and shameful moments in history in America. At some point we'll realize that this is just another one.
mike 12 years ago
Why don't they speak out about immigration policies of Mexico, Canada or practically any other country? Yeah, why don't they read the law? Why don't they speak out on those who support illegal immigration and thereby slave labor? Where's their compassion on those issues? People that are speaking out about this are either ignorant or have a hidden agenda. The only people who think this is racist are racist themselves. Proven by their inablility to see beyond skin color. I am embarressed for MLB.
Tammy Mason 12 years ago
I am disgusted at the lazy journalism and the lack of checking facts by these writers. This is just substandard writing, unethical. Investigate the facts first. You cannot be pulled over becauseis the color of your skin. NOT ALL ILLEGALS ARE HISPANIC. This is NOT an anti immigrant law, it is about being here illegally. Last I checked...MLB IS NOT IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM EFFECTED BY THIS LAW. All players are legally here, so why is MLB conscerned at all? Read the law
AL P 12 years ago
Arizonia Law says if someone breaks the Law if that person cannot prove they are in the United States legally, they will have the United States search Databasees; once proven they are not here legally that person will be turned over to the US Immigration. Many from all Countries come here on Student Visas, Working Visas, or Green Cards, and many sneak across the Border. How does this effect only Mexicans? if they are illegaly then they should go back to thier Country be it Asia, Europe, South America. I submitted a comment befor, so far it doesn't show so i'm sending this one
Al 12 years ago
Read the Arizonia Law; it just mirrors United States Immigration Law. If Major League Baseball decides to boycott Arizona, I and millions more Americans will boycott Major League Baseball. We want nothing to do with an organization that would work to subvert the rule of law and and the wishes of the American people.
D. Porter 12 years ago
So now the all-American game has become infested with pro-invasion subversive types and brain-dead liberals and radical "progressives," eh? You'd think that leaders/managers in this and other sports would be in favor of law and order, but this BS shows otherwise. Well, amigos, go bat your balls around to a smaller audience.... Americans ought to be spending their spare dollars elsewhere, not on a bunch of overpaid America-hating nitwits at some ball part. Oh, BTW..... Ozzie Guillen, FOAD!
Phil 12 years ago
If you have done nothing wrong and you have entere this country legally, what is there to worry? Consider it and accept it on the same premise the TSA uses to check people through security at the airport! Unfortunately it has to be done and if you are against it then maybe we do need to check the legitimacy of your citizenship!

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