(Ken Kendricks, third from left, and friends at a recent JFA reunion show)
Without even considering the political leanings of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ ownership, I have no trouble rooting against them. For one, their ballpark naming rights are held by a predatory lender, for another, I had the worst stadium nachos in my entire adult life while watching Pedro Martinez subdue the hosts during a visit to Phoenix in 2006. Congressman Raul Grijalva would just as soon advise tourists like me to stay home, however, calling for a national boycott of the state of Arizona over the passage of the “Support Our Law Enforcement & Safe Neighborhoods Act”. As Edge Of Sports’ Dave Zirin explains over at The Progressive (link courtesy Jason Cohen), said legislation “has brought echoes of apartheid to Arizona.” And a boycott of the state need not be restricted to tourism, as Zirin advocates ignoring the NL West’s D-Backs entirely. Thankfully, Howe Gelb‘s vast catalog is unaffected.
As the official Arizona Diamondbacks boycott call states, œIn 2010, the National Republican Senatorial Committee™s third highest Contributor was the [executives of the] Arizona Diamondbacks, who gave $121,600; furthermore, they also contributed $129,500, which ranked as the eighteenth highest contribution to the Republican Party Committee. The team™s big boss, Ken Kendrick, and his family members, E. G. Kendrick Sr. and Randy Kendrick, made contributions to the Republicans totaling a staggering $1,023,527. The Kendricks follow in the footsteps of team founder and former owner Jerry Colangelo. Colangelo, along with other baseball executives and ex-players, launched a group called Battin™ 1000: a national campaign that uses baseball memorabilia to raise funds for a Campus for Life, the largest anti-choice student network in the country. Colangelo was also deputy chair of Bush/Cheney 2004 in Arizona, and his deep pockets created what was called the Presidential Prayer Team”a private evangelical group that claims to have signed up more than 1 million people to drop to their knees and pray daily for Bush.
The Diamondbacks™ owners have every right to their politics, and if we policed the political proclivities of every owner™s box there might not be anyone left to root for (except for the Green Bay Packers, who don™t have an owner™s box). But this is different. The law is an open invitation to racial profiling and harassment. The boycott call is coming from inside the state.
If the owners of the Diamondbacks want to underwrite an ugly edge of bigotry, we should raise our collective sporting fists against them. A boycott is also an expression of solidarity with Diamondback players such as Juan Guitterez, Gerardo Parra, and Rodrigo Lopez. They shouldn™t be put in a position where they™re cheered on the playing field and then asked for their papers when the uniform comes off.