Published May 05, 2010
PHOENIX (Reuters) - The Phoenix Suns, in a show of support for the Latino community over a controversial new state law, will wear jerseys emblazoned with "Los Suns" in their NBA game Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs, the team said.
"Our players and organization felt that wearing our 'Los Suns' jerseys on Cinco de Mayo (a Mexican holiday) was a way for our team and our organization to honor our Latino community and the diversity of our league, the state of Arizona, and our nation," Suns owner Robert Sarver said in a statement released by the team.
Sarver criticized the Arizona law that requires state and local police to determine people's immigration status if there is "reasonable suspicion" they are in the United States illegally.
The law has made Arizona sports teams and events the targets of national protests and calls for boycotts.
"The frustration with the federal government's failure to deal with the issue of illegal immigration resulted in passage of a flawed state law," Sarver said.
"However intended, the result of passing this law is that our basic principles of equal rights and protection under the law are being called into question, and Arizona's already struggling economy will suffer even further setbacks at a time when the state can ill-afford them."
Supporters say the law is needed to curb crime in Arizona, which is home to some 460,000 illegal immigrants and is a major corridor for drug and migrant smugglers from Mexico.
Suns general manager Steve Kerr said the decision was supported by the team's players.
"They were all for it," Kerr told The Arizona Republic.
The newspaper said the idea received the endorsement of the NBA. The league had no immediate comment.
Phoenix has a 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven Western Conference semi-final series with the Spurs.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Steve Ginsburg)