Major League Baseball has been under some light pressure from online activists to pull its 2011 All-Star Game from Phoenix in light of Arizona's new immigration law.
Now the push is getting intense.
A slew of bona fide political heavyweights have signed onto a letter calling on MLB to move the game, including the National Council of La Raza, the AFL-CIO, SEIU, and People for the American Way. They're also calling on MLB to urge its teams to relocate spring training camps from Arizona, which hosts half of MLB teams every spring in the Cactus League. (The other half play in Florida, in the Grapefruit League.)
From the letter, which was announced this afternoon in a press release by immigration coalition America's Voice:
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. In this moment of crisis, these players - and baseball's millions of Latino and immigrant fans - deserve a loud and clear message that the League finds this law unacceptable. 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.
As noted previously, there is precedent for major pro sports pressuring Arizona to change a racially charged policy: the NFL pulled its 1992 Super Bowl from Arizona in the late 1980s, over the MLK-Day holiday controversy. Voters in Arizona ended up changing their minds and honoring the holiday; they didn't get the Super Bowl back for 1992, but they did get Super Bowl XXX a few years later.