Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Major League Baseball, Arizona and illegal immigration

You've probably heard of "the law of unintended consequences" -- something is done for what appears to be the right reasons, and then the unexpected happens that allows for a re-assessment of the original idea.

Major League Baseball could be facing that very problem if it opts to pull its All-Star Game from Arizona, the scheduled host in 2011. The league could do that in response to the state's enactment of an aggressive illegal immigration law that remains politically divisive and legally questionable.

As you read through the linked story, consider how the National Football League attempted to do the same thing -- use the potential removal of one of its events to pressure voters in Arizona to approve the MLK holiday, only to see that pressure backfire.

Setting the sports angle aside, it also is important for the media to discuss other organizations that are threatening to (or do) pull their activities from Arizona. Let's acknowledge the importance of professional sports, but let's not ignore that the loss of multiple conventions, meetings and other professional gatherings will resonate through the state's economy.

Sure, the symbolic power of sports cannot be denied; but the collective power of all non-profit or for-profit groups that opt to cancel plans sends the same message.

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