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Racial Profiling in MLB and the NHL

2010 May 4
tags: ,
by Victor Matheson

As noted previously here at TSE, the MLB Players Association has come out in oppostion to the recently passed immigration law in Arizona amid concerns about the potential racial profiling of its players and their families.

Since the law prohibits racial profiling in a police officer’s decision to request proof of immigration status, it is odd that the NHL hasn’t issued a similar statement, especially considering that roughly 80% of the NHL’s players are non-U.S. born, figure over twice that of MLB.

Apparently, despite the official line regarding racial profiling, Canadians and Northern/Eastern Europeans don’t fear the repercussions of this law in the same way that Latinos do.

7 Responses
  1. Tucker permalink
    May 4, 2010

    That might be a dangerous road for the NHL. Any one of those Canadians gets stopped for a tail-light out and the cops will pick up the accent immediately and be detained.

  2. Bill permalink
    May 4, 2010

    The author of this post can’t possibly be as stupid as he sounds, can he????
    Gee, could the difference have anything to do with the fact that well over 25% of the population in Arizona is Hispanic, while less than 3% is Canadian/Northern European/Russian? Clearly the law effectively targets Hispanics no matter what the actual language says.

    The Ivory Tower is apparently even further from the real world than I realized.

  3. Victor permalink
    May 4, 2010

    Apparently I was a bit too subtle for at least one of our readers. Yes, the MLB vs. NHL comparison is ridiculous, so it was used to expose one of the absurdities of the law as written.

    Whether you are in favor of the law or not, there is simply no way the law can or will be enforced without significant racial profiling. To claim otherwise is completely disingenuous, and Bill is exactly right that “clearly the law effectively targets Hispanics no matter what the actual language says.”

  4. Dan permalink
    May 4, 2010

    Victor, having family as well as friends in law enforcement, I think saying there is simply no way the law can or will be enforced without significant racial profiling is wrong. I don’t see anything in the law that repeals the 4th Amendment.

    Are you assuming the police will consciously or subconsciously target Hispanics? My experience is the police have more than enough to do without going out of their way looking for illegals. But with almost 500,000 illegals in AZ already some are bound to cross paths with the police.

    If opponents think the police will become jack-booted thugs because of this law, which for the most part mimics federal law, they have a low opinion of law enforcement.

    My grandparents, who came over from Germany, spoke out against the Bund before and after WWII while my father and uncles were over in Europe fighting. There were German-Americans put into camps during the war, some because people like my grandparents spoke up against them.

    I don’t see a majority of the legal Hispanic community doing anything but protecting people that feel free to jump the line. It is expensive to legally come into our country but change our immigration laws instead of ignoring them.

    Steve Nash was on PTI today and said how much he hated the law. But I wish he had been asked if he carried his documents with him since he is required to do so by a Federal law signed by FDR. But now one is in danger of being labeled a Tea Partier if they say they support enforcing Federal law.

    I don’t want to cast aspersions on why you feel the way you do but if you think police are incapable of using their judgment, then why trust them to enforce any law? Personally I don’t think this law will result in an increase in deportations or racial profiling because police are going to fear accusations of bias and the subsequent lawsuits.

  5. May 5, 2010

    Personally, I’m in favor of the Arizona law. I’m not going to get into a political argument on a sports blog (wrong venue).

    What I want to comment on is whether professional sports leagues should pick a side in a political debate. I do not believe sports leagues should get involved in political issues such as this. The problem is, even if a majority supports one side or the other there is still a minority who disagrees. Why should sports leagues get involved in politics if there is a possibility they could alienate a significant number of people. Just stay out of it please.

  6. May 6, 2010

    As far as I know, no sporting league has weighed in on the law yet. The MLBPA did, but player unions are quite different from the leagues themselves.

    I wonder if the NHL, who currently owns the Phoenix Coyotes, will be affected by the law though. They fought so hard to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix to the point that they had to take over the Coyotes instead of letting Jim Balsillie buy and move the team to Canada. I wonder if any potential buyers (Reinsdorf in particular) will use this to lower the purchase price. Buyers may claim that it will be harder to sell tickets to out-of-the-state Hispanic fans and such. Maybe, maybe not.

  7. Greg Pinelli permalink
    May 11, 2010

    The NHL hasn’t done it because of the absurdity and blatant pandering involved. MLB KNOWS its players have nothing to fear. Non US citizen players ALL have credentials and papers up the ying yang….they have simply thrown a sop to the Latin players on their clubs.

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