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Activists protest Lakers Coach Phil Jackson's comments on Arizona's new immigration law

 Immigration activists gather outside Staples Center in response to comments by Lakers coach Phil Jackson.Activists outraged at comments made by Lakers Coach Phil Jackson that seem to back Arizona’s controversial new immigration law plan to rally outside Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles before Monday’s playoff opener against the Phoenix Suns.

“The way we look at it, Phil Jackson is supporting the Arizona law,” said Mario Gonzalez, a longtime Lakers fan and rally organizer. “That’s surprising. It caught us off guard. We want to find out where the team stands on the law.”

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/photos/uncategorized/2009/01/27/jackson.jpgJohn Black, the Lakers' vice president for public relations, did not respond to telephone messages seeking comment.

Sparking the furor are remarks made by Jackson to ESPN.com columnist J.A. Adande in which the Lakers coach seems to back the incendiary Arizona law, which allows local police to check citizens documents and arrest them if they don't have them.

“Am I crazy, or am I the only one that heard [the legislature] say, ‘We just took the United States immigration law and adopted it to our state?’” Jackson said of the Arizona statute.

The Lakers coach then disputed the columnist’s assertion that Arizona legislatures had “usurped” federal immigration law -- an allegation widely made by critics who say the law could lead to racial profiling of Latinos.

Supporters say the state law complements federal statutes and deny any intent to target Latinos.

“It’s not usurping” federal law, Jackson replied, adding that the Arizona lawmakers “gave it some teeth to be able to enforce it.”

Jackson, long known as a free spirit who in Adande’s words “has showed lefty leanings in the past,” also seems to chastise the Suns’ management for its criticism of the Arizona law.

The Suns’ owner and several players have publicly criticized the statute.

“I don’t think teams should get involved in the political stuff,” Jackson told the ESPN.com columnist. “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’s going to go.”

Gonzalez, the protest organizer, said Monday’s rally was not meant as a call to boycott the Lakers or root against the L.A. squad in its push to repeat as league champions. Rather, he said, the action is aimed at condemning Jackson’s apparent support for the Arizona law and clarifying Lakers management’s opinion on the matter.

“We want to know the team and Phil Jackson’s opinion on the law,” Gonzalez said.

Supporters of the rally said they wanted to give Jackson and the Lakers the opportunity to clarify their position on the Arizona law. Activists voiced the hope that both the Lakers and Jackson would follow the Suns’ example and come out against Arizona’s plan.

“We want to give Phil Jackson the benefit of the doubt,” said Nativo Lopez, head of the Mexican American Political Assn. “There are nuances here that Phil Jackson perhaps is not familiar with. He’s an expert at basketball but not at immigration law.”

-- Patrick J. McDonnell

Photos: KTLA News; L.A. Times file

 
Comments () | Archives (320)

I completely agree with West Valley Dave's comments. Illegal immigration is illegal after all. Many seem to falsely claim that people will have to live in fear. Well if you are not breaking the law then what is there to fear? The worse being asked to confirm your legal status. Keep in mind any such instance is only intended to keep our borders safe. Mexico has plenty of problems with drugs and violence and we don't need them furthering those problems for us in our country when we already have the same issues although not quite to their extreme.

Also, boycotting the state of Arizona and any organization, person, etc that supports the law or state shows blatant ignorance to the fact that Arizona is only enforcing federal law. Something that our president is afraid to do.

Phil has a right to his opinions and yes you will need your papers in Arizona to see the Lakers if your are illegal.

I agree with Mr. Jackson's point of view. Leave the politics are for politican and the basketball game to the basketball players. Arizona law is only enforcing a law which they've had for many years. The people need to be notified and explained what this Federal Law means because I think that it's taken out of context to fit someone else agenda.

@ Randy, who wrote:
"Lawbreakers are immoral. Illegals are lawbreakers. Illegals are immoral."

You are conflating the law and morality. Here is a better syllogism:
People who don't understand the rules of logic and truth shouldn't comment on important matters. Randy doesn't understand those rules. Randy should refrain from commenting.

What does Phil know anyways? If he says sports should be separate of politics then why even go there?? The bill is a farce anyways.

"We want to know..."

I think Jackson was pretty clear.

Or maybe he should have spoken in Sanskrit for you?

In any case--it's none of your business. You didn't elect him, and he doesn't owe you anything.

I also support Phil Jackson and I am not even a Lakers fan.

I read the law - only 16 pages. It's pretty clear. It's aimed at ALL persons who are living in the U.S. without benefit of citizenship. How difficult is that to understand? If you are here legally - no problem, if not, sign the guest book or go home, where ever that is.
I hope the Lakers SWEEP Los Suns!

Phil needs to stick to basketball and away of politics. Latinos are one of the biggest fan base for the Lakers and their administration as well as cosummers. An Immigration reform is needed to stabilized this the immigration issue and a championship to LA would be the celebration.

Vivan Los Laguneros

These so-called activists groups are like a bunch gangbangers bullying and threatening anyone who gets in their way.
GO LAKERS!

The main controversy surrounding the Arizona law, that all the supporters here don't seem to grasp, is about its procedural dimensions rather than its substantive content. The law essentially provides carte blanche to stop and interrogate any suspected illegals (i.e. anyone who is not white). There is NO Federal law that allows people to be stopped or interrogated without cause. Arizona is not applying Federal law...it is inventing laws to harass all minorities on a whim.

agreed, maybe phil supports the spirit of the law. the letter of the law is not good.

i just pose this question - does a country have the right to control it's borders?

because we were settled by immigrants do we have no right to limit the flow?

Phil, I agree but please stay out of politics and coach our LA team to another championship.


Why isn't anyone upset about this:
It's basically the same as AZ's new law.

Below is a copy of section 834b of the California Penal Code that deals with immigration law enforcement at the local level.

(a) Every law enforcement agency in California shall fully cooperate with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding any person who is arrested if he or she is suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws. (b) With respect to any such person who is arrested, and suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws, every law enforcement agency shall do the following: (1) Attempt to verify the legal status of such person as a citizen of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident, an alien lawfully admitted for a temporary period of time or as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of immigration laws. The verification process may include, but shall not be limited to, questioning the person regarding his or her date and place of birth, and entry into the United States, and demanding documentation to indicate his or her legal status. (2) Notify the person of his or her apparent status as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws and inform him or her that, apart from any criminal justice proceedings, he or she must either obtain legal status or leave the United States. (3) Notify the Attorney General of California and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service of the apparent illegal status and provide any additional information that may be requested by any other public entity. (c) Any legislative, administrative, or other action by a city, county, or other legally authorized local governmental entity with jurisdictional boundaries, or by a law enforcement agency, to prevent or limit the cooperation required by subdivision (a) is expressly prohibited.

Why can't we just play basketball and just leave the politics where it belongs? ... to the politicians.!!! If the Suns decided to take a position on this it was up to them since the players AND owners ACTUALLY live in that state. Why do we have to be nosy and criticize prominent people (like Phil) that has a PERSONAL opinion about the matter and whom does not even live in Arizona? Now they want to protest the fact that Phil has a personal opininion.... its just ridiculous!!!! Everything here is about a protest for these people. This organizer should find something better to do with his time.... hey here's an idea.... stay home and watch the season finale of House if you don't want to see the game... get a life dude... next thing you hear you will be protesting the fact that the "L" in the name Staples Center looks weird and that latinos don't know why it looks like the way it does and THAT will be racist... If you wanna complain about people having an opinion go ahead and let's ask Martha Stewart, Rachael Ray, Emiril Lagaze, Ja Rule and P. Diddy about what THEY think....

These so called protesters are lobbyist for the cartels.

Thank you Phil for not going to the knee jerk, appeasing stance that most are. It is not a easily solved problem, but that doesn't mean that efforts shouldn't be made. And in regards to racially profiling, if people who looked just like me were more likely to be "criminals" then i would expect to be checked on more than people who don't look like me. It's not racial profiling, it's common sense. And if I didn't like it, I should help solve the situation that was leading to it.

I loved the Lakers before Coach Jackson made any comments about this law, but now that I know where Jackson stands, I now Love him as well. Good americans are hard to come by now a days.

What this issue does is allow a person to voice their opinion on a thought that grips the souls of people who have experienced profiling on account of their race, gender, religion or nationality, as opposed to those who have only been able to see it, in its action, via someone else's experience related over a media source, which in a way is viewed as if its a reality show.
Now lets use a scenerio that will never happen,( ? ) A Laker players family member that happens to look like an alien, say watching a game (in Arizona) happens to leave the protection of their seat and is found smoking a cigarette outside and a police officer wants to make an inappropriate advance and is resisted then takes it upon himself to seek identification which is not available upon request because it was left at the hotel. As it is not on their person she or they are then taken to jail/detention facility placed on a bus sent to Mexico's interior! There we are now protected against a criminal drug addict gang member who is getting welfare and a good paying job from a real American .
You know sometimes it sucks to be looked at from the outside. Now you might say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one. If an action is stopped because it may not be right we may be able to stop the thought from taking it's course.
If you think this will never happen then you my friend are lucky,
make friends with an alien looking person spend as much time
with them and experience the reality show of your life.....(you'll experience what you think does not happen.)
Apparently Coach Phil Jackson has the good fortune of never having to experience profiling of any type that would question who he is while in the comfort of the universe of his triangle offense.

In my eyes, people who are against the Arizona law are the racists. They cannot see past the color of their own skin to support the laws of this nation. They have to make a choice. Do they want to abide by the laws of this nation, or do they want to claim allegence to their former country and that of their ancestors? If the later is the case, why not go back to Mexico and try to make that country a better place so that millions of people don't have to flee and come here? And if they want to be good Americans, why not look past the color of their own skin and see that all nations, including Mexico, have the right to control their borders and immigration?

What is so wrong to expect someone to come to this country legally, learn to speak english, love your country, work hard and pay your share of taxes like the rest of us. If you are caught in this country illegally you should be deported.

Hey NoMoreSeasonTix, I'll be more than happy to take those tix off your hands! I got a feeling you might have spoke too soon though.

Keep in mind, that it is the racial profiling in this AZ law that many in the Latino community are most upset about. I think it is a safe bet that many of us feel that Washington has to pass and enforce a good immigration law. There was one idiot who claimed that it was Obama's fault. Well, it is actually Congress has to deal with this, but both sides always hesitate. And remember, George W. Bush actually wanted a comprehensive immigration bill, but members of his OWN party struck that down.

Phil Jackson has the right to state what he wants (and the people protesting him the right to do so as well. This shouldn't be a one-way street). However, as someone already mentioned, Phil should have listened to his own advice when he stated that sports teams should stay away from politics. Now, he's opened up a literal Pandora's Box.

THIS IS CALIFORNIA LAW, ENFOCE IT YOU COWARDS
READ THE LAW

834b. (a) Every law enforcement agency in California shall fully cooperate with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding any person who is arrested if he or she is suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws.

(b) With respect to any such person who is arrested, and suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws, every law enforcement agency shall do the
following:
(1) Attempt to verify the legal status of such person as a citizen of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident, an alien lawfully admitted for a temporary period of time or as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of immigration laws. The verification process may include, but shall not
be limited to, questioning the person regarding his or her date and place of birth, and entry into the United States, and demanding documentation to indicate his or her legal status.
(2) Notify the person of his or her apparent status as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws and inform him or her that, apart from any criminal justice proceedings, he or she must either obtain legal status or leave the United States.
(3) Notify the Attorney General of California and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service of the apparent illegal status and provide any additional information that may be requested by any other public entity.
(c) Any legislative, administrative, or other action by a city, county, or other legally authorized local governmental entity with jurisdictional boundaries, or by a law enforcement agency, to prevent or limit the cooperation required by subdivision (a) is expressly prohibited.

What Phill Jackson said, is just an opinion of a thinking person. Every objective thinking person would have to arrive at the same opinion after reading AZ SB1070 and understanding what lead up to it.

 
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