Feathered Bastard

Phil Jackson's Asinine, Nativist Remarks About Los Suns and SB 1070

Is Lakers head coach Phil Jackson -- generally known for his lefty ways -- a nativist as well?

That's the only conclusion one can draw from his recent statements to ESPN in support of SB 1070, a law sponsored by neo-Nazi hugging Mexican-hater, state Senator Russell Pearce.

In speaking with ESPN's J.A. Adande, Jackson stuck his foot in his mouth and revealed himself as a closet hillbilly at the same time:

"Am I crazy, or am I the only one that heard [the legislature] say 'we just took the United States immigration law and adapted it to our state,'" Jackson told Adande, who replied that the Arizona law usurped federal law.

"It's not usurping, it's just copying it is what they said they did, and then they gave it some teeth to be able to enforce it," Jackson responded.

In answer to your question, Phil, you're not crazy, just misinformed. The U.S. Constitution gives plenary power to the feds over immigration. The states cannot just up and start making their own immigration laws, especially not laws that would force local cops to check the immigration status of people they suspect of being in the country sans documents during any lawful stop.

You'd think "Mr. Racially Aware" would get the point that in a state that borders Mexico, where most of the 500,000 or so who are here illegally are from Mexico or Central America, that SB 1070 presents a pathway to racial and ethnic profiling. But apparently not.

The Lakers' top hypocrite then chastised the Suns, which his team will be playing tonight in game one of the Western Conference Finals. Seems Jackson's the only one allowed to have an opinion in the NBA.

So while it's OK for him to support former NBA star and ex-U.S. Senator Bill Bradley for President, as he did in 2000, or to shoot his mouth off about SB 1070 (something he obviously knows little about), it's verboten for the Suns to disapprove of the law and show solidarity with Hispanics by wearing their Los Suns jerseys on Cinco de Mayo.

"I don't think teams should get involved in the political stuff," said Jackson. "And I think this one's still kind of coming out to balance as to how it's going to be favorably looked upon by our public. 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."

Thing is, the American people once supported segregation, on the basketball court and off. Does that mean people shouldn't have sought to integrate the sport?

Jacskon's statements have spurred a move to protest him, at least online. With the first game of the Western Conference Finals tonight, maybe there will be some other protesting going on in L.A. at the Staples Center. We'll see.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons