Jackson Responds To Latino Activists On AZ Law

Last Friday I reported on an Orange County (CA) blogger asking his readers to join him outside of Staples Center before the Lakers-Sun playoff game Monday to protest Phil Jackson’s comments about the new Arizona immigration law.

Phil Jackson Protest Sign

(Hey 3% of L.A., Phil Jackson’s talking to you!)

Local Latino activist Nativo Lopez has since joined the fray, inducing the LOS ANGELES TIMES into a blog post about the pregame protest tonight.

For the unfamiliar, Lopez is our very own version of Al Sharpton. While the professional activist isn’t quite the showman Sharpton is, I’m proud to report that he can still be quite entertaining. Along with every bit the opportunist.

Though the legal Mexican-American immigrant community isn’t nearly as flattering in its assessment of Lopez, who most locals recognize as a complicit pawn for the Mexican government.

So with the L.A. Times and Lopez on board for the modest pre-playoff game protest, Jackson released a statement today that hedged his position on Arizona’s SB 1070 while reiterating his hope that politics can be extracted from the upcoming series.

“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.”

What’s fueling the opposition to SB 1070 here in Los Angeles has little to do with the law. As our esteemed Attorney General proved last week, most haven’t read SB 1070. This is all about supporting law enforcement on an issue that has adversely impacted much of the population in Arizona and SoCal. There’s no better example of that than Jackson’s stance on the newly-passed bill.

The Lakers Coach is a noted liberal who normally would side with Latinos when it came to social issues. But in this case, Jackson is on the side of law enforcement, as are the vast majority of Los Angeles Times readers - as I noted last week:

Los Angeles Times Immigration Poll

I don’t begrudge Lopez’s right to protest in this instance, and Jackson should’ve known better than to accuse the Suns of politicizing the issue after doing the same himself.

It’s in Lopez’s job description to capitalize on anything that could be construed as racism.  So don’t be deceived, whatever protest ensues tonight outside Staples Center tonight has little if anything to do with SB 1070.

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