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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)

Phil Jackson is my new favorite coach! Kudos to him for not pandering for the Politically correct crowd. Most Americans support the law but are afraid of being labeled racists.

The lakers DO NOT enact laws or are accused of racial profiling. Sports have nothing to do with the issue other than provide an opportunity to the Misguided to target anyone who disagrees with them, a tactic reminiscent of Nazi Germany. Americans have the right to their own opinions and not be targeted by radicals.

This is so typical of leftist, socialist blowhards, the demonizing of anyone who doesn't agree.

Phil Jackson is allowed to have his own opinion as a citizen. The Lakers as an organization don't need to chime in on this issue, nor do they need to have an official stance.

It makes me ashamed to be Mexican-American when I read things like this. When we, as Mexican-Americans, speak out this way, we're suggesting that it's ok for us to break immigration laws simply because we're Mexican. We, of course, don't like to talk much about the very stringent immigration laws that Mexico has on the books, which is the irony of all ironies in this issue.

Kudos to Phil Jackson for speaking his mind. Go Lakers!!

You break the laws of this country - you are a criminal. The only problem is that these weenies in Fed can't and don't want to control the borders in lieu of their own self preservation.

I'm done with all the protests! How about you protest breaking the laws, gangs, murders, drugs, human trafficking, prostitution, lack of education, inability to speak English, having 10 kids per family, sucking up the resources of the taxpayers. How about that?

Posted by: Anu | May 17, 2010 at 10:19 AM

--First of all do your research it's only a law in AZ, for now. So in your extended research all latinos are criminals, have 10 kids and suck up resources? That is as racist comment as you will hear anywhere and ofcourse you back up this law and with those comments you expect people not to call you a racist?
I don't have 10 kids, I'm not a gangmember, never been in jail, I speak english, and I don't do any of the above? What resources am I sucking up? I have a job (thank God) and I support my family as best I can. Pay my taxes.

And I will never support a law that will let police stop me or my son and be harassed because of how I look. It's people like you that don't belong in my state and in my country.

I hate it when the people of this country exercise their rights to free speech and public assembly. It makes me so angry that we live in a country where such natural freedoms are protected. What can be done about it? I for one plan to vigorously ignore both sides.

I think Nativo Lopez should try and go to any one of the 225 plus countries in the WORLD and try this crap there. He'd be shot on site. This law is a mirror of the federal law. Over 70 percent of the population is in favor of it. If he doesnt like it then he can cough up the 50 billion dollars it costs ANNUALLY to pay for illegals to stay here. Do that and you got a deal senor Nativo Lopez. Oh and by the way how do you plan on bringing back the 14,000 Americans that have been murdered by illegals the last 20 years????? YOUR AN ANTI AMERICAN FOOL NATIVO !!!!!!

Mario Gonzalez: Neither the Lakers organization nor Phil Jackson have to tell you their position on Arizona's law. Neither the Lakers organization nor Phil Jackson are required to HAVE a position on Arizona's law. And if Phil Jackson has no issue with Arizona's law, that's his business. His personal opinions have nothing to do with his responsibilities as head coach of a basketball team.

Mr. Gonzalez: In America, everyone has the right to express his or her opinion. Jackson expressed his; you and people who think like you will be at Staples Center tonight expressing yours. And I have my opinion, too. I think you should shut up and watch the game.

It's totally disgusting how they portray anyone or anything that is against illegal immigration as racist. It makes me puke.

Oh, and Nativo Lopez? Jackson doesn't need the "benefit" of your "doubt." Perhaps YOU should go back and read the Arizona immigration law.

Anyone who does not agree with Nativo Lopez is misguided, stupid or racist! Sports should not be political. Above all, anyone in America has the right to their own opinion as anyone has the right to debate that opinion. Arizona is right.

Me being a first generation American of Mexican parents, see both point of views that something has to be done to curb ALL illegals from taking from the state... What I am against is racial profiling... other then that let the games play out, this should be about watching a game and rooting for our Lakers and nothing else... and to ANU.. stop sterotyping everyone not every Mexican has 10 kids, I have none and don't plan on it, my parents have ALWAYS worked paid taxes and never took advantage of the system and they take pride in that..I'm smart enought to know that not everyone is ignorant like you!

Jackson and other Lakers' representatives claim the organization does not want to be involved with this divisive political situation created by the anti-immigrant legislation passed in Arizona then Coach Jackson should have not issued any comment whatsoever. Now a can of worms has opened and, of course, the Latino fans have reason to be outraged at his words which can be construed as racist or, at best, ignorant.

Nativo Lopez wake up! The American people are against you and against ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. We gave the illegals the benefit of the doubt and look what happened. Anchor babies, not paying hospital bills, higher school taxes, crimes of murder, rape & dwi, kidnappings etc etc etc. If you are illegal ya gotta go bro!

Why does the team have to clarify their position on the immigration law? They are a BASKETBALL team. And who would speak for the team anyway? Do they take a vote of everyone involved with the team and then the majority opinion is the "official L.A. Laker" opinion on the law? How ridiculous.

If you want to protest Arizona, turn off your electricity. Calif. gets 1/3 of its electricity from Arizona. I hope they don't decide to double the tax on exported electricity.

Arizona sends wildfire teams to Los Angeles every time there is need. Our closest help and best trained come from there. Will L.A. decide NOT to ask them for help when it's needed?

San Diego hotels are already reporting canceled reservations from Arizona residents over this boycott. I wonder how the LA area is doing from this. I am sure no one is tabulating the cost to the city, but they should.

This is all done to appease the fine workers at Acorn, (SEIU is the conjoined twin of ACORN) and they are they ones bankrupting the city. I think new councilmen are needed.

Unlike the US Attorney General, Phil Jackson is actually informed and read the law and is right. What I absolutely HATE is the pattern nearly all liberals follow: they demand free speech except when someone disagrees with them. They hold rallies and protests and wave Mexican flags, but if anyone disagrees, the poor person is an ignorant racists and then they hold more rallies and protests. Phil Jackson, and everyone else in this country, has the right to any opinion they want and have the right to express it legally! If I wave an American flag I am called a Nazi. If I wave a Mexican flag I get accepted with open arms. I must have missed the memo when the US changed their name to the United States of Kiss Mexico's Butt. What would happen if thousands of American citizens invaded Mexico illegally and held rallies demanding free services, drivers licenses, jobs, education, and respect all to be paid for by Mexican citizens? Get real! The penalty for entering Mexico illegally or throwing off the countries racial mix is 2 years in a Mexican prison followed by deportation. At the same time the Mexican government prints maps of how to safely enter the US illegally.

"...incendiary Arizona law, which allows local police to check citizens documents and arrest them if they don't have them."

If anyone ever doubts that the press is biased, unprofessional, or incompetent need look no further than this stupid remark by reporter Patrick J. McDonnell. Read SB1070 Mr. McDonnell. Show some intelligence, show some decency. It's you and people like you who are distorting the truth and causing all of this uproar. Jerk.

Now a days, if you speak your mind, and others don't agree or appriecate you're thoughts they will camp out side your door try to close your business down and call you a racist, homophobic,leftist, communist or what ever it is the issue you don't agree with...It's not freedom of speach it's poilcally correctness crap...You cant say anything that might HURT someones feelings even if it's true which is bull....focus your energies into solving the issues..Hey have you traveled to Mexico, europe or outside the U.S.A with out a pass port or visa or shots for that matter! ...try and see what happens..

So, is no one aloud to have an opinion unless it agrees with your opinion Mr. Gonzales? Phil Jackson is merely stating that as far as he understands the law, AZ is taking the current immigration law and applying it to their state. It is not racist, it is not profiling, it is the law. You can make a case for profiling if that is proven to be the case in time, but it has not been yet.

CA likes to convolute as many black and white issues as they can, adding many shades of grey. The way the law is being misinterpreted is not unlike the skewed approach the Yes on 8 supporters took, i.e.: "being taught in school"? Come on! "Racial profiling"? Come on! Polls show 70% of the country back AZ...by condemning their decision you show: a. your only understanding of the law is what you've read in the media, b. you're ignorant to the fact that unlike CA, AZ has major issues with drug cartels, kidnappings, etc. which until now the law provided very little support to intervene on suspicious activity until it was too late; c. You are ignorant to all the legal immigrants who have worked hard to be in this country...Personally, I'd be pretty upset if I worked so hard at something only to see it handed to others.

Get your facts straight, and stop trying to call everyone a bigot who has differing views from yours. This is not about race, it's about legal vs. illegal, plain and simple!

Why not quote an expert on Constitutional matters which we have plenty of in this country? Phil just showed his complete ignorance towards the 4th and 10th amendments.

Arizona has to be the most hypocritical state in the union. They demand their Constitutional right to carry fire arms at the local Starbucks but are willing to strip Latinos of their 4th amendment rights.

Regardless if Phil agree or dis-agree with the immigration bill, we do have freedom of speech. And what difference dose it make what is opinion is, and you what to protest. This is crazy, maybe these activists need to get a reallty check or take it back across the border. I guess theses activists will shut down the city for everyone who don't agree with them.

Those who are against American law and state law have shown that they are also against free speech.

All these protests from illegal aliens are going to backfire on them. The hispanics which comprise their base are already convinced that U.S. existing immigration law should be abandoned. However, the illegal aliens lose more support every time an average citizen who is undecided or apathetic on the issue sees a large group of mexicans and mexican-americans waving foreign flags and calling reasonable people racists. Polling on the issue shows that a huge percentage of americans agree with Phil Jackson.

“I don’t think teams should get involved in the political stuff...”
“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?’”

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

BINGO! These illegal alien activists are full of it. The law is AGAINST racial profiling. It does NOT give cops the authority to stop people without cause to ask about their status. Demand these illegal alien activists quote the portion of the law they disagree with. They are LYING!!!

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