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Basketball fans have been talking about Phoenix’s Los Suns jerseys since the team busted them out to protest a new Arizona law. Adam Roy says let them jugar.

LAST WEEK, WE WROTE about the Arizona Diamondbacks, whose games have been protested by immigrant rights activists opposed to Arizona’s new immigration law. Now, another Arizona team has come out on the other side of the debate.

During their playoff game with the Spurs on Wednesday, the Phoenix Suns wore Jerseys that read “Los Suns” to protest Arizona Senate Bill 1070, which requires police to question and arrest anyone who cannot prove that they are in the US legally. The law is widely understood to be targeted at Latinos, especially undocumented Mexican immigrants.

Steve Nash and other Suns players said in interviews that they supported the decision by owner Robert Sarver to wear the jerseys. The Spurs said that they plan on wearing “Los Spurs” jerseys if the series goes to a fifth game.

In the rest of the NBA, the reaction has been mixed. Commissioner David Stern has yet to publicly voice an opinion on the law, while L.A. Lakers coach Phil Jackson has spoken out against the Los Suns jerseys.

“If I heard it right the American people are really for stronger immigration laws, if I’m not mistaken,” he told ESPN. “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.”

It’s startling to see Jackson, who’s always been known for his liberal political views, speaking out against the protest–he seems to be just about the only public figure in L.A. to be doing so. But it’s likely that the decision to wear the jerseys was more a financial one than a political one: According to Census estimates, Latinos make up nearly a third of the population in Arizona, and are heavily represented among the Suns’ fans

Even if it was primarily for the money, what the Suns did still comes off as meaningful. At the very least, it’s a measure of the respect they have for the fans who support them and pay their salaries.

More importantly, other sports team owners have taken the opposing side on this issue; Republican contributor and Diamondbacks part-owner Ken Kendrick comes to mind. It’s a little ridiculous to let sports figures finance support for the law but accuse them of meddling when they speak out against it.

Either way, the Suns are one team that aren’t likely to be boycotted any time soon.

Feature photo: primonene

Community Connection

Read about Tom Gates’ own immigration nightmare in Locked Down at London Heathrow.

Team Sports


About The Author

Adam Roy

Chicago native Adam Roy is the former-Editor of Matador Sports and an aspiring renaissance man to boot. For more of Adam's writing, check out his blog at Ill-Advised Adventures.

  • Hal AMen

    I appreciate the gesture, but I must say Viva Los Spurs! instead. :)

  • Bessie

    Great for the Suns to call attention to the basic human rights 1070 infringes on. The people affected have a small voice, it’s important for people in the public spotlight to speak-up.

  • Hawk

    I live in Arizona, have all my life, and I hate it when I see these pro illegal rants which paint us all as a bunch of rednecks.

    For what it’s worth, I support the law, and would like to see more done to keep illegal immigrants off the streets and out of the country. My grandparents came to the USA from Italy after world war two, they waited in line, spent money on a ship, learned the language and assimilated. When I got married to a woman born overseas, it took a year and twenty grand for the immigration dept to approve her visa, but it was done legally.

    Why should somebody hopping over a fence have any more rights to be here than my wife and grandparents who followed the rules.. Most of these illegals don’t try to assimilate, learn the language, or do annoying else to make this country their home. What is wrong with trying to catch them and send them back?

    Maybe some of the bleeding hearts who oppose this should get off the chairs, and come down here to az and sound some of their tax money paying the school and hospital bills for the illegal immigrants, then they will have some right to give their comments.

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