Several Los Angeles residents have reacted poorly to Phil Jackson’s recent support of Arizona’s new immigration law, SB 1070. As a result, local Latino activist Nativo Lopez -- a Los Angeles wannabe Al Sharpton, less the credibility -- came out and publicly endorsed a suggested protest of the Lakers' Monday night game.
In response to the controversy, the Laker coach issued the following statement:
“I’ve been involved in a number of progressive political issues over the years, and I support those who stand up for their beliefs. It is what makes this country great. I have respect for those who oppose the new Arizona immigration law, but I am wary of putting entire sports organizations in the middle of political controversies.
"This was the message of my statement. I know others feel differently, even in the Lakers organization, but it was a personal statement. In this regard, it is my wish that this statement not be used by either side to rally activists.”
Careful Phil, you may have just hit them with way too much common sense.
Is this what free speech has come to? A man offering his opinion on a new law gets to have protests on the front lawn of his job?
What a joke.
There is no more blatant, ridiculous example of attention-whoring behavior than attempting to protest tonight’s Laker game. All Jackson is guilty of is truthfully answering a question asked of him by a reporter. Apparently, that isn’t appropriate anymore.
The whole fiasco stems from Jackson telling J.A. Adande that he didn’t see a particular problem with SB 1070.
“If I heard it right the American people are really for stronger immigration laws, if I’m not mistaken. Where we stand as basketball teams, we should [let] that kind of play out and let the political end of that go where it is going to go…Am I crazy, or am I the only one that heard [the legislature] say ‘we just took the United States immigration law and adapted it to our state.’ It’s not usurping, it’s just copying. It is what they said they did, and then gave it some teeth to be able to enforce it.”
More than anything, the comments should be taken as an alternative viewpoint considering they are coming from Jackson, a man who has shown clear-cut liberal leanings in the past.
The original organizer of the protest, Art Fedora, also worked for the Republican party in an official capacity, according to SportsByBrooks. I wonder if that little footnote will make it to the pamphlets these freedom fighters will be handing out before the game.
A recent poll by the LA Times (a newspaper often accused of leaning left) showed that 91 percent of voters thought the city should mind its own business when it comes to Arizona laws and regulations.
Here’s an even better idea: Let the city do as it pleases, just leave our Laker games alone.
I don’t come down on either side of the argument. I’m a sportswriter. My concerns start and end with where LeBron James will play next year.
I do know the answer to this question, though: What is the quickest way to get already media-wary celebrities to stop commenting on political and social issues?
Answer: By promoting ridiculous, time-wasting, good-for-nothing protest rallies whenever someone actually gives their opinion on an issue.