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We Love Baseball…A Message from National Council of La Raza…

May 12, 2011

Tell MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to Show Leadership on Civil Rights

Tell MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to Show Leadership on Civil Rights

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This weekend in Atlanta, Major League Baseball (MLB) will host its 2011 Civil Rights Game and celebrate its role in the civil rights movement.  MLB does indeed have a rich history of demonstrating leadership in civil rights issues—the league integrated by drafting Jackie Robinson in 1947, years before several branches of the U.S. military allowed African-American service members.

But our country’s civil rights struggles did not end in the 1960s or 70s, and MLB’s current Commissioner, Bud Selig, remains silent regarding current civil rights issues that also deserve leadership from the League.  Specifically, Selig has refused to move the 2011 All-Star Game from Arizona or even comment on the implications that the state’s “Papers Please” law, SB 1070, would have for many MLB players.  And now the Civil Rights Game will be played in the very state that passed the newest discriminatory law, HB 87, Georgia’s copycat version of SB 1070.

Doesn’t it seem strange to Commissioner Selig that the MLB will celebrate civil rights in a state that just passed a law violating the rights of many?

Why won’t MLB Commissioner Bud Selig show the same kind of leadership on civil rights issues that baseball has in the past?  Arizona’s SB 1070 has united minority groups who all see what is wrong with the law.  Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., an African American fraternity, moved its convention from Arizona to Nevada in protest of SB 1070.  The fraternity said it did not want to “put the civil rights and the very dignity of [their] members at risk during their stay in Phoenix.”  That is true leadership.  But what about baseball?  What happened to the civil rights legacy of America’s favorite pastime?

Here’s our chance to ask Selig.  The MLB is accepting questions from the public for a panel discussion at their civil rights roundtable discussion to be held this Friday, May 13.  The panel features singer Gloria Gaynor, activist Dolores Huerta, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim owner Arte Moreno, and National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial.

Ask Selig why he hasn’t broken the MLB’s silence and demand that he speak up for the civil rights of all the league’s players!

Thanks for encouraging baseball to continue its tradition of standing up for civil rights!

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