Phoenix Suns smart to don “Los Suns” jerseys

Jason Richardson and the Suns will don their "Los Suns" jerseys on Cinco de Mayo in Game 2 to make a political statement. (Alan Walsh/ValleyoftheSuns)

Jason Richardson and the Suns will don their "Los Suns" jerseys on Cinco de Mayo in Game 2 to make a political statement. (Alan Walsh/ValleyoftheSuns)

Aiming to make a statement in opposition of the recently passed Arizona immigration law, the Phoenix Suns will wear “Los Suns” jerseys during Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinal series against the San Antonio Spurs on Cinco de Mayo.

The Suns, who sported those jerseys twice during the season and won both games, feel the bright lights of the playoffs will provide the perfect venue for this pointed political statement.

Suns owner Robert Sarver released the following statement:

“Our players and organization felt that wearing our ‘Los Suns’ jerseys on Cinco de Mayo was a way for our team and our organization to honor our Latino community and the diversity of our league, the State of Arizona, and our nation.  We are proud that 400 players from 36 countries compete in the NBA, and the league and the Suns have always considered that to be a great strength of the NBA.

“The frustration with the federal government’s failure to deal with the issue of illegal immigration resulted in passage of a flawed state law.  However intended, the result of passing this law is that our basic principles of equal rights and protection under the law are being called into question, and Arizona’s already struggling economy will suffer even further setbacks at a time when the state can ill-afford them.”

The new state law, which makes it a crime to illegally be in the country, allows cops to request documents from people who with “reasonable suspicion” seem as if they may not be legal citizens. Opponents of the law fear this will lead to widespread racial profiling.

Steve Nash, who has never been shy to voice his opinion on political issues, strongly opposes the law as well and thinks what the Suns are doing about it is “fantastic.”

“I think the law is very misguided,” Nash told The Associated Press. “I think it’s, unfortunately, to the detriment of our society and our civil liberties. I think it’s very important for us to stand up for things we believe in. As a team and as an organization, we have a lot of love and support for all of our fans. The league is very multicultural. We have players from all over the world, and our Latino community here is very strong and important to us.”

The Suns — who asked the their players if anybody was in opposition to wearing the “Los Suns” jerseys and had no dissenters — are absolutely doing the right thing here after the D-backs faced protests at road games last week and after national leaders have called for boycotts of Arizona.

Surprisingly, the Suns have not caught much flak on the issue aside from a humorous sign in Portland in which a Blazers fan told Nash that Governor Janet Brewer wants to see his papers. But with the national spotlight firmly fixed on the Suns, it likely was only a matter of time before the Suns became more visibly connected to the issue.

It’s not fair for any sports team to be tied together with any political issue, especially one the majority of the team opposes, but that’s life. The Suns needed to send a message that they oppose this law before that happened to them, and that’s what they are doing by wearing the “Los” on their jerseys.

At the same time, you’ve got to commend Sarver for taking a stand for something he believes in on a national stage. It’s always safe not to comment on politics. Don’t they say politics and religion are the two things never to bring up on a first date? As J.A. Adande writes, it takes some major cojones for Sarver to make this big of  symbolic gesture along with the strongly-worded statement against the immigration law.

That’s not to mention that this will likely further endear the Suns in the hearts of the Hispanic community as well as the international community at large. Led by a player like Steve Nash who so strongly opposes this measure, the Suns can be seen as a beacon of opposition to the law instead of a symbol of the actual law.

Finally, I hope the nation understands that people in Arizona aren’t a bunch of cowboys who want to round up all the Latinos and send them back to Mexico and South America. Maybe some people think that way, but many other people in this state view the world as Steve Nash does. Arizona businesses should not be boycotted and the Suns should not be reviled because of SB1070.

Wearing “Los Suns” jerseys on Cinco de Mayo in front of a captive primetime national television audience should go a long way toward ensuring national public opinion doesn’t turn on the Suns because of the immigration law.

  • Bdiddy

    This could be the secret reason Sarver wanted to make his political statement:

    And just for fun…

  • race card

    Truth: The Suns (including Steve Nash, the Canadian) do not care about the rights of illegal aliens.

    they only want to prevent any potential loss of income that might result in hispanics not buying tickets to their games.

  • CornFlakes

    I’m a diehard Suns fan, and while I think Suns management made a boneheaded move here with the “Los Suns” jerseys, I’m not gonna stop being a fan. I still want them to win this series and eventually win a championship.

    Still, basketball is NOT the venue to forward someone’s political agenda. I don’t care if they were doing something in SUPPORT of the bill; they need to learn to keep politics out of the game. I don’t watch the Suns for political commentary or statements; I watch to see them play some freaking basketball. If they want to speak up about the law, do it OFF THE COURT.

    And to the people wasting their breath arguing here over the merits of the law itself: GROW UP. This is a Phoenix Suns BLOG talking about the Suns decision to wear the “Los Suns” jerseys. Don’t derail the article & comments by inserting your own biased takes on the law. Stick to the Suns, and not the politics!!!

  • Rich

    Tony (post 18) linking the ICE website or an others without an article is pretty useless. But how about this to back up the crime stats here in AZ:

    Those are hard numbers for you straight from our County Attorney’s office. Illegals have elevated crime rates across the board. I know you won’t bother to read it all so just focus in on the Executive Summary on page 2.

    As far as the jobs are concerned, are you calling AZCentral a blog??? It’s a news agency. Those audits were initiated by ICE. Or are you claiming that NPR News and Pew research (the study they cited) are anti-immigrant. If anything they are wide left on most issues including this one.

    You claim they don’t take good jobs. Well try reading here:

    Or are you going to assume that they were all janitors as well?

  • Andrew

    Thanks for the response, Michael. I appreciate the candor. Keep up the good work.

    And, of course…

    GO SUNS!!! 2-0 BABY!!!

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  • Janet G

    I have been a fan since we moved here in 1970. Now I am to disgusted with these millionaires riding around in their Escalades and feeling sorry for lawbreakers!!! We pay loads of taxes and support these illegals with FREE education, FREE medical care, FREE welfare and Social Security (which they don't pay into). Come on you guys, get a clue about the real world. Sarver and Kerr, you have just shot yourselves in the foot. BIG MISTAKE!!!!!

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