Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today called on Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to move the 2011 All-Star Game out of Arizona in protest of the unconstitutional, anti-immigrant law that state recently passed. On April 23, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a law that would make it a crime not to carry immigration documents and would give police vastly expanded power to detain those suspected of being in this country illegally.
"Baseball, with its revered history, its diverse roster of stars, its ongoing community activism, and its All-Star Game and related festivities, is in a unique position to influence the debate over this discriminatory law," Silver wrote in a letter sent to Selig today. "While Major League Baseball cannot be legally compelled to do so, given the League's continuing celebration of diversity, clearly you must sense the moral obligation to act."
The letter, copies of which were also sent to Yankees President Randy Levine and Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon, comes as a growing chorus of elected officials and citizens across the nation have banded together to express opposition to the law, which opponents believe will lead to racial profiling and fuel prejudice.
Silver wrote Selig that while he appreciates the advice of former Commissioner Fay Vincent that the league steer clear of state politics, "Arizona's Immigration Law is fueling an increasingly emotional, national debate over the very constitutional principles that define our nation."
The Major League Players Association has condemned the law and Silver has asked the league, out of respect for its many players and fans of Hispanic descent, to send a clear message that our national pastime stands for tolerance and respect for all people.
"As the son of an immigrant father, as a lifelong resident of Manhattan's Lower East Side and as the assemblyman who represents much of Lower Manhattan, I understand the immigrant experience as well as anyone," Silver wrote. "Lady Liberty implores the nations of the world to send us those who yearn to be free. In that light, what Arizona has enacted into law is hypocrisy plain and simple. I urge Major League Baseball to step up to the plate and knock the 2011 All Star Game out of Phoenix, Arizona."