As the players take the court during tonight’s round two playoff battle between rivals Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs, viewers will get an unusual dose of politics along with their basketball fix.
Suns players and owner Robert Sarver decided to have the team sport jerseys emblazoned with the team name ‘Los Suns’, in part as celebration of Cinco de Mayo but mostly to protest against SB 1070, Arizona’s now infamous immigration law.
Sarver, quoted in an Arizona Republic article, says the law is “mean-spirited”.
He’ll get no argument from the NBA, including commisioner David Stern who told nba.com that the wardrobe choice is “appropriate.”
Team co-captain Steve Nash goes even further, telling the Republic “I don't agree with the spirit of the bill or the message it sends, not only to people in our community but how it represents our community across the country and the world. I think the bill opens up the opportunity for racial profiling, racism. I think it puts the police in an incredibly difficult position that isn't fair to them. It's an infringement on our civil liberties to allow the possibility for inequality to arise in our community."
The jerseys were originally created for a marketing campaign last year. The Spurs also have similar uniforms with Los Spurs printed on them, but they couldn’t get the proper quantity in time for the game, according to nba.com.
Many supporters of SB 1070 are infuriated by the wardrobe choice, but I'd wager that all will be forgiven if the Suns can finally manage to beat the Spurs in the playoffs...a feat San Antonio has dashed four times since 2003.
In other developments, two Arizona cities, Tucson and Flagstaff, have filed suit to halt the law, citing the financial burden it will place upon their police departments as an 'unfunded mandate'. Boston’s city council approved a resolution to curtail economic ties with Arizona, while Boulder, Colo., (in a move that will make little economic difference) has suspended travel to the state.