Utne Blogs > Politics

The Commissioner Goes Down Watching

by David Doody


Tags: Major League Baseball, Bud Selig, Arizona, SB 1070, Dave Zirin, politics, The Nation, David Doody,

Chase-field-arizonaIn his latest column for The Nation author Dave Zirin takes Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to task for his refusal to move this year’s All-Star Game out of Arizona in response to that state’s “darkly punitive racial profiling law SB 1070.” MLB, Zirin points out, is, more than any other major professional sport in the U.S., reliant on Latino American players, including some of the game’s biggest names. Zirin believes that Selig is more interested in grandstanding about past civil-rights victories in the sport than going to bat for current ones:

Major League Baseball has prided itself—and marketed itself—on historically being more than just a game. Bud Selig, in particular, is a man, who publicly venerates the game's civil rights tradition. Jackie Robinson's number is retired and visible in every park and the great Roberto Clemente in death has become a true baseball saint. But Selig's inaction makes his tributes to the past look as hollow as Sammy Sosa's old bat….

Yes, Bud Selig would undoubtedly have received an avalanche of criticism if he had moved the game. That’s what it means to actually sacrifice something for the sake of the civil rights he claims to hold so dear. Instead, his legacy will bear another blot, joining the steroid boom, the cancellation of the 1994 World Series, and the gouging of state economies with tax-payer funded stadiums.

UPDATED: Read Zirin's article, "Balls and Stripes: The late Pat Tillman, patriotism, and the militarization of American sports," in the current issue of Utne Reader.

Source: The Nation 

Image by Ken Lund, licensed under Creative Commons.