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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 is correct with what he said.
Amen!

Some wonderful ignorance displayed by Phil, and in the comments. Federal preclusion/supremacy is not the issue. Of course Phil is too arrogant and lazy to dig below the surface.

The problem is in the application. This law explicitly encourages racial profiling and inevitable violation of equal protection. It even subjects law enforcement to civil liability for failure to enforce the law on its existing terms. The law permits “reasonable suspicion” of another’s illegal status as a basis for apprehension, inviting police to rely on appearance and characteristics such as race, ethnicity & language. How else would law enforcement obtain suspicion that somebody is in the US unlawfully? Your skin color and dress by themselves do not raise “reasonable suspicion”, and allowing police to detain you and demand proof you are not breaking the law is unconstitutional and simply un-American. Period.

i support the arrizona law because if you are here illegal you are breaking the law and enough is enough illegal are milking the us citizens taxes like being on welfare and medicals fraud, so us tax payers are footing the bills.

I have become a Phil Jackson fan and an LA Lakers fan as of this moment, though I've never been particularly interested in sports. I know, however, that Phil will not be intimidated into a wimpy backstep and turnabout. Yea Lakers!

Phil Jackson is right.

“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.”

I'm Latino born & raised in California. Nativo Lopez's statement above somewhat contradicts his own demand for clarification. Phil Jackson is just a another person who is "NOT AN EXPERT AT IMMIGRATION LAW". What he says about things outside of basketball shouldn't have to be an issue with anyone or cause a rally for that matter.

The economics are the real issue, not what some coach thinks. I read a great grass-roots perspective about the economics of immigration called "Your Livelihood is Subsidized by Immigrants". Definitely worth googling.

Perhaps, the Governor of California should think about bring out the National Guard because the kind of protest these people plan could be the beginning of Civil War.

They want people to support them and their plan to takeover our country -- well, I ask, who have they ever supported except them and their ulterior plan? Name one protest by others have they supported except to pilfer? What goes around comes around.

I'm all for the Arizona law and anybody that lives outside of Arizona really has no right to question what Arizona does! More and more CITIZENS of this country are getting sick and tired of supporting and servicing illegal immigrants and soon it will be the law in every state, as it should be. King Obama and his ilk are not enforcing the federal law, so individual states are adopting it as their own to circumvent the government's unwillingness or inability to enforce it!

Phil is a great coach. He is right in that the law helps the state enforce Federal immigration law. The Federal immigration law is corrupt, and based on immoral premises.
The law should be changed to enable immigrants who want to work to do so legally.
The people that break the current immigration law just to work are NOT criminals. Those that commit crimes of moral turpitude are criminals. Frederick Douglas in the 19th Century made himself a freeman, but he broke the then current U.S. law, he was a hero, obviously NOT a criminal.

Despite the rancor, bluster and accusations of "racial profiling," the Arizona law will almost surely survive legal challenges. Not only the Arizona courts but the ultra-liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld several previous immigration-related Arizona laws and ballot measures dating back to 2002. Understanding this likely failure of legal challenges, the law's opponents know they must resort to boycotts and political pressure to get the law repealed - and they must get it done quickly before courts validate the thing.

Go Phil! Go Lakers! For those planning to boycott, do as you wish. That's why we have freedom of speech.

Orange County Register -- Santa Ana, Calif. -- August 11, 2009

Plea deal likely in Reconquista Nativo Lopez voter-fraud case, attorney says

An attorney representing Nativo Lopez, an [illegal alien]-rights activist and former Santa Ana schools trustee facing four felony charges of voter fraud, said he and his client are still negotiating with prosecutors for a possible settlement, but he needs more time to review similar cases...

Nativo Lopez and all the other so called "activists" don't speak for all of the Latino community. If you've noticed most of their followers are all young and impressionable high school or college kids that don't know anything about how the real world works. If Nativo Lopez really cared about his people he would go back to Mexico and be an activist there and for other Latin America countries. That way we wouldn't have so many Mexicans, Guatemalans, etc. trying to immigrate to America.

Phil Jackson's comments are a slap in the face of all the dedicated Latino Lakers' fans. He should have kept his mouth shut if the Lakers organization decided not to get involved with this "political" issue!

I hope I can speak for all of Los Angeles when I say.... GO SUNS!

Here's a crazy idea. What if, instead of doing something pointless such as protesting, these people spent time trying to help people become legal citizens of the United States? You know, something productive? I love immigrants, but I can't stand illegal immigrants. The fact that some ``immigration rights'' protesters can't (or won't) understand the difference is grotesque.

Phil like everyone else should not get involved when it comes to something called the LAW. Someone who is breaking the LAW has to answer for his/her actions. How is this situation any different from any other? And by the way, this is not a racial issue, this is a LAW that is being broken all over the US, it's not just against Mexicans, it's about all ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS who come here and pay NO TAXES and expect to have a place in society without being question and expected like everyone who pays federal and state taxes. Reyes should be voted out of office, we don't need someone comparing Nazi's to this situation. His he nuts? Reyes along with the UCLA professor should loose their jobs, the professor talks about a "revolution"? This guy should not have a job anymore, be responsible and take some responsibility and show/teach your people and everyone else how to be part of society by doing things correctly.

The American Dream is not for everyone, don't come here for a free hand out. Stand up and do it right.

“I don’t think teams should get involved in the political stuff,”...he is not quite wise enough to heed his own advice.

So now "we the people", such as Coach Phil, take heat for being correct? Sadly, these "protesters" are not concerned with what is accurate, only with what gets attention. They are fundamentally dishonorable people and the real travesty is the air-time the media gives them.

Now they will have a REAL reason to RIOT after the Laker game...as opposed to the normal ghetto reasoning.

The Feds let everyone down...at lease AZ has the guts to TRY and clean up this mess of a country that has been created. Where will we all move when CA turns into another Tijuana?

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

Who cares what a basketball coach thinks about politics, is he running for mayor? Why waste time fighting with people who have no power over the law in which you hate? Take it to the lawmakers. Why boycott legal business and legal residents for something they have no control over? It's only going to backfire and cause you to be the 'bad-guy', not the law.
When mom-and-pop stores start losing money and going out of business because you are boycotting them just because they are in Arizona, see how much sympathy you are going to get.

It is in our first constitutional amendment, it states, " Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech..." Phil Jackson or anyone else has the right to express their opinion. It is the people like, Nativo Lopez, who is breaking the law. He is protesting and demanding that Phil and the Laker's organization agree with his position on the Arizona immigration issue.

I think the issue is not immigration, we are the United States of America, and this country was and will be built with immigrants from all parts of the world: The issue is ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION which is AGAINST THE LAW.

Hey Nativo and Mario, if you're so freakin' in love with Mexico, go live there! We in America don't want our country to become another Mexico. It's THE Suns, THE Lakers...please go away and take all the illegals, their anchor babies and their language with you!

Neil, you are twisting the language of the law so badly, and using it to lie so deeply, that I almost admire your language skills. We both know that the law says no such thing. You can twist it all you want, but it's a very simple, straightforward law. You're making something up and trying to get people to argue the merits of your lie. It's a great Alinsky strategy.

 
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