In a concession to common sense, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio agreed today to stop plans for chain-gang parades in front of Chase Field before the start of tomorrow's MLB All-Star game.
"I'm not going to interfere with the ball game tomorrow," Arpaio promised in a news conference this afternoon.
Apparently not wanting to put a blemish on America's sacred pastime or emotionally scar the scores of children attending the All-Star game, Arpaio said he is keeping his imprisoned clean-up crew away from the event.
Originally, three chain gangs -- one made up of undocumented immigrants arrested for drunk driving -- were supposed to be forced to pick up trash around the stadium.
Protesters rallying against Arizona's controversial immigration law, Senate Bill 1070, also were expected to show up before the game.
And Arpaio wanted a piece of the media spotlight.
"If [protesters] can be there, why can't my female chain gang be there as a public service?" Arpaio asked New Times.
But America's self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff" said his decision to back down has nothing to do with opposition by MLB officials or media critics.
"If they had called and asked me to knock it off, I probably would have done it anyway," Arpaio said. "I decided to let the people enjoy the game without any outside distraction."
Arpaio says his chain gangs will be back on the streets come Wednesday.
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