Since the NBA's Phoenix Suns announced that they would wear their "Los Suns" jerseys during a May 5 game as a way to honor the Latino community and take a stand against Arizona's newly passed immigration law, conservative media have suggested they are "protesting the American dream" and are "responsible" for a "climate of hate."
Suns: Jerseys "honor our Latino community" and "diversity of our league"
Suns' managing partner Sarver: "[O]ur basic principles of equal rights and protection ... are being called into question." In a May 4 statement, Phoenix Suns managing partner Robert Sarver said: "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." Sarver went on to criticize the Arizona law, saying 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."
Suns' Nash: AZ law "is very misguided." During a May 3 interview on ESPN, Suns point guard Steve Nash, who is Canadian, also criticized the law, saying that it "really damages our civil liberties" and "opens up the potential for racial profiling, racism." He added: "I can never speak for the whole team, but our owner asked us if any of us had a problem wearing the jerseys and nobody did. ... [T]his league is very multicultural. We have players from all over the world, myself obviously being a foreigner and many of my teammates, players on the other teams, our communities are very multicultural so I think we have to find a different way to combat the issues that we face in our society. And I think that this is the wrong way to go about it."
Right-wing media respond to Suns' statement with vitriol
Fox News: "[W]hy are the Phoenix Suns protesting illegal immigration?" On May 5, Fox News' Fox & Friends displayed on-screen text reading, "Protesting the American Dream," while showing pictures of the Suns' "Los Suns" jerseys. Co-host Steve Doocy then asked: "They make millions of dollars playing for the NBA, living the American Dream, so why are the Phoenix Suns players protesting illegal immigration?"
Limbaugh: "I think it's cowardice, pure and simple." On May 5, Rush Limbaugh talked about the issue with a caller and asked: "Does professional sports want to be associated and siding with illegals, law breakers?" Limbaugh went on to call the Suns' protest "sad" and "shortsighted," concluding: "This is cowardice disguised as 'I'm better than you.'"
From the May 5 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: I'll give you the perfect analogy: This is no different than the Republicans supporting amnesty back in 2007 because they don't want to offend anybody and they hope to get these votes. So you have the ownership of the Phoenix Suns, the Los Suns, and whoever -- "We don't want to offend the portion of our fan base. We want to appear to be politically correct. We want to appear to be all-inclusive" and so forth. Well, fine and dandy, but what happens when that contributes to the overall deterioration of the culture of this society? I just think it's cowardice. I'm sorry. I think it's cowardice, pure and simple.
LIMBAUGH: The bottom line here is it's cowardice that's running this. It's cowardice disguised as supremacy, cowardice disguised as 'I'm better than you.' Cowardice disguised 'I'm more open-minded than you.' Cowardice disguised as 'I'm more worldly than you are. I'm a better person than you. I'm more tolerant than you are.' It's just cowardice, pure and simple. And if it isn't cowardice, it's pure ideology, nothing other than political liberalism that's guiding the opinions on this, which is common and OK in politics, but tell us that.
You know, don't give us this superior "I'm better than you are" or multicultural garbage. Just tell us you're a liberal, you disagree with the law, and you don't think that the jerseys ought to say "Suns" because it offends you. Don't hide behind holier than thou, you're better than everybody else stuff. This is the thing about liberals -- they just can't be honest about who they are. They have to always denigrate everybody else.
"Well, we have to wear these 'Los Suns' jerseys because there are so many racists in our state and we have to battle it." Sorry, it doesn't fly here on the EIB network.
Malkin: "[O]pen-borders sympathizing Phoenix Suns." In a May 5 blog post titled, "Los Moochers," Michelle Malkin referred to the Suns as "open-borders sympathiz[ers]," calling the team's move a "stunt." She wrote: "And basketball and baseball fans who support immigration enforcement, national security, and the rule of law should consider taking the proper steps to protect their rights and interests -- by voting with their feet and refusing to do business with open-borders sports organizations. Perhaps Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver should stop shoving politics down his ticket-buyers' throats, mind his own business -- and stop using our taxpayers dollars to keep him afloat." She concluded: "New uniform proposal: Los Moochers. If the shirt fits..."
Allahpundit suggests Suns are "responsible" for this "climate of hate." In a May 4 post on HotAir, Allahpundit called Sarver a "tool," writing: "First, shouldn't 'Los Suns' be 'Los Sols'? Second, if this tool wants his team dudded out in protest gear, it's his dime, but I wonder how smart of a marketing strategy it is to make a show of opposing a law favored by 60 percent of the public. Amnesty shills will love it but a larger number of amnesty opponents will hate it, and a swath of people in the middle will wonder why they're being treated to political propaganda when all they want to do is watch hoops." He concluded: "Since 'Los Suns' feel comfortable injecting politics into sports, I'm going to feel comfortable injecting this story into this post: Earlier today, Jan Brewer got an envelope filled with white powder from some unknown member of the Lords of Progress. Exit question: Who's responsible for this 'climate of hate'?"
Red State Revolution: "[W]hat the hell are the Phoenix Suns thinking?" In a May 4 post titled, "Los Suns = LOSERS," the blog Red State Revolution wrote: "[W]hat the hell are the Phoenix Suns thinking? I am 100 percent positive about the following, the players and owner know nothing of what I just wrote and have not read one page of the Arizona bill! Most importantly any professional sports team is fan supported, the Suns just decided to go against what 70% of Arizonans approved! Whoops, that means you pretty much just pissed off 70% of your fan base, because of your decision and lack of knowledge. What smart business model did this decision come from." The post concluded: "Just because you have athletic skills DOES NOT MAKE YOU SMART! Just because you have money DOES NOT MAKE YOU SMART!"