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Los Suns Cinco de Mayo Jerseys

Phoenix Los Suns JerseyThe Phoenix Suns will be the “Los Suns” tonight, both in commemoration of Cinco de Mayo and in protest of Arizona’s controversial immigration law.  And, if they happen to make a ton of money selling jerseys, that’s a consequence they’re willing to live with.

The Phoenix Suns will wear “Los Suns” on their jerseys in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals on Wednesday night, owner Robert Sarver said, “to honor our Latino community and the diversity of our league, the state of Arizona, and our nation.”

The decision to wear the jerseys on the Cinco de Mayo holiday stems from a law passed by the Arizona Legislature and signed by Gov. Jan Brewer that has drawn widespread criticism from Latino organizations and civil rights groups that say it could lead to racial profiling of Hispanics. President Barack Obama has called the law “misguided.”

Sarver, who was born and raised in Tucson, said frustration with the federal government’s failure to deal with the illegal immigration issue led to the passage of what he called “a flawed state law.” “However intended, the result of passing the law is that our basic principles of equal rights and protection under the law are being called into question,” he said, “and Arizona’s already struggling economy will suffer even further setbacks at a time when the state can ill-afford them.”

[...]

Sarver came up with the “Los Suns” jersey idea but left it up to the players for the final decision, Suns guard Steve Nash said, and all of them were for it.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Nash said after Tuesday’s practice. “I think the law is very misguided. I think it’s, unfortunately, to the detriment of our society and our civil liberties. I think it’s very important for us to stand up for things we believe in. As a team and as an organization, we have a lot of love and support for all of our fans. The league is very multicultural. We have players from all over the world, and our Latino community here is very strong and important to us.”

It’s a nice gesture although, shouldn’t they be “Los Sols” rather than “Los Suns”? [Steven Taylor, who actually speaks Spanish, informs me it should be "Los Soles."]

Amusingly, while this move is getting a lot of attention because of the present controversy, this isn’t anything new.  The NBA has been celebrating Noche Latina the last four seasons, and at least eight teams — including the Suns — have worn Spanish variant jerseys in commemoration of that.  And the Suns have apparently worn these jerseys twice previously this season without the fanfare.

nba-noche-latina-jerseys

Also, the Arizona legislature revised the bill over the weekend, seemingly fixing the most obvious problems.

Still, there’s no reason to let facts get in the way of a good story.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Boyd says:

    Overheard: “Do you think Steve Nash actually read the law?”

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  2. sam says:

    Hmm. What’s their record? ‘Los Sols’ is pretty close to ‘Lost Souls’…

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  3. [...] James Joyner notes a story I was going to blog last night:  Los Suns Cinco de Mayo Jerseys. [...]

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  4. Technically, it would be “Los Soles”

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  5. Steve Plunk says:

    The Vikings are named in recognition of the large Scandinavian community in Minnesota, the Seahawks use a symbol related to Pacific Northwest native American totems, there is nothing wrong with doing something similar in Arizona.

    It’s silly for the team to make this a protest of sorts. It reminds me of Hollywood types spouting off about things they know little. Celebrities are spoiled and insulated from the real world so their opinions are pretty much worthless. As they say, shut up and sing, act, play, or whatever. If you want to influence politics run for office or write a letter to the editor.

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  6. LaurenceB says:

    Also, the Arizona legislature revised the bill over the weekend, seemingly fixing the most obvious problems.

    As I see it there were three problems with the law:

    1. It was badly written, or written intentionally to be too broad. What is “lawful contact”? Race can not be the “sole” consideration? Dr. Joyner is correct that these problems have largely been fixed.

    2. It’s implementation will be along racial lines. This is still a concern. Nobody who is honest with themselves actually believes that Latinos won’t be harassed more then non-Latinos, it’s just a question of how badly.

    3. The whole concept of this law is stupid.
    a. It will cost Arizonans millions of dollars as the lawsuits make their way through the courts.
    b. It doesn’t solve a real problem. Crime is down in Arizona. And even if it wasn’t, drug-related crimes are better addressed through drug laws, rather than immigration laws.
    c. Etc, etc.

    And, yes, I think I will be buying one of those jerseys. If my Utah Jazz can’t win it (and it’s beginning to look that way), I’ll be a Soles fan.

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  7. Brian Knapp says:

    It’s a nice gesture although, shouldn’t they be “Los Sols” rather than “Los Suns”? [Steven Taylor, who actually speaks Spanish, informs me it should be "Los Soles."]

    Actually, since this is a proper name and in fact a trademarked name, ‘Suns’ would remain in its English form. In Mexico, I bet Pepsi is still ‘Pepsi’. That seems to be consistent with the other NBA franchises that went this route.

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  8. Franklin says:

    b. It doesn’t solve a real problem. Crime is down in Arizona. And even if it wasn’t, drug-related crimes are better addressed through drug laws, rather than immigration laws.

    Yup. Illegal immigrants looking for a job don’t kill people, drug smugglers do.

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  9. JB says:

    I think that since “Suns” is a proper name by virtue of it being the name of the team, so that when it’s used in another language, the English variant is still used.

    For example, no English-speaking person refers to the band “Los Lobos” as “the Wolves.” Neither does anyone reflexively refer to someone named “Juan” as “John.” If the Suns ended up winning the title, it wouldn’t matter what language used to broadcast the news, they would still be called the Suns.

    The Suns/NBA also have branding issues to worry about.

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  10. john personna says:

    My high school’s team was called The Conquistadors. I notice that they are now The Conquerors.

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  11. Bob says:

    Of course, the NBA’s Noche Latina celebration was back in March & these jerseys were specifically pulled out in protest … but hey, like you said, “there’s no reason to let facts get in the way of a good story” (or mediocre blog)

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  12. @Brian: you are right, of course. I was just noting that the Spanish plural of Sol is Soles.

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  13. The Q says:

    Mr. Plunk,

    Don’t you know that Steve Nash, as a Canadian, is subject to being arrested, thrown in jail, charged with a felony and deportation if he doesn’t have his “papers’ with him?

    But then again, there you go, “spouting off about things you know little.”

    You seem to share this trait with your abhorrent Hollywood crowd.

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  14. TangoMan says:

    2. It’s implementation will be along racial lines. This is still a concern. Nobody who is honest with themselves actually believes that Latinos won’t be harassed more then non-Latinos, it’s just a question of how badly.

    We have a law that is neutral in language towards race and ethnicity but the concern is that the follow through on the law will have disparate impact along the lines of race and ethnicity. This, some argue, makes the law morally invalid.

    Cry me a river. We have plenty of laws which have the same impacts. Look at the IRS code. It is neutral in respect to race and ethnicity and yet there is disparate impact with more obligation falling on Caucasians, Asians and Jews than Blacks and Hispanics.

    Oh, I know, the argument will be that this type of disparate impact is different than what will happen with the Arizona law because the IRS targets by income and the racial and ethnic impact is simply an artifact. However, the Arizona law will be targeted by the invocation of lawful contact. Hispanics, like Blacks, when compared to whites, have higher rates of criminality and so they have higher rates of lawful contact with the police. The disparate impact of this law, just as with the IRS code, is no more than an artifact of proper application of the law.

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  15. TangoMan says:

    3. The whole concept of this law is stupid.
    a. It will cost Arizonans millions of dollars as the lawsuits make their way through the courts.
    b. It doesn’t solve a real problem. Crime is down in Arizona. And even if it wasn’t, drug-related crimes are better addressed through drug laws, rather than immigration laws.
    c. Etc, etc.

    a.) The cost of defending this law is but a tiny fraction of the cost of providing social services to illegal aliens and their children. This law will make life better for the citizens of Arizona by driving the illegal aliens to San Francisco or back to their homelands.

    b.) Subsidy-sucking illegal aliens are a problem. Less of them in a community is a solution to having them there. Secondly, Phoenix is now the Kidnapping Capital of the United States. This is directly related to this invasion/infestation that they’re dealing with.

    c.) etc, etc. Your first two points were worthless, so if you want to stand on some intellectual argument then, you know, you should actually spell it out.

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  16. Brian Knapp says:

    @Brian: you are right, of course. I was just noting that the Spanish plural of Sol is Soles.

    I recognize that…but why are we talking about shoes? ;)

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  17. [...] some observers believe the jerseys should really say Los Soles, to be accurate. But as some have noted, maybe that was too uncomfortably close to “lost [...]

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  18. anjin-san says:

    It’s silly for the team to make this a protest of sorts. It reminds me of Hollywood types spouting off about things they know little. Celebrities are spoiled and insulated from the real world so their opinions are pretty much worthless. As they say, shut up and sing, act, play, or whatever

    Sure, all athletes are dummies who should stick to the gym. Like former SF 49ers Rikki Ellison & John Frank. (both of whom wear super bowl rings) Ellison became a respected defense analyst after he left football & Frank is now Dr. Frank, a surgeon. What have you done lately Steve?

    Really Steve, do you embarrass yourself every time you speak, or only on OTB?

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  19. MstrB says:

    Phil Jackson not a fan

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