ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa stands behind his statement supporting Arizona's new immigration law, saying it's all about states' rights.
La Russa said Thursday that he was speaking as a citizen and not as a high-profile manager earlier this week when he responded to a question about a Tea Party protest outside Busch Stadium during a series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
La Russa said then that protesters had a right to have their say, adding that he supported the measure that calls for tougher enforcement against illegal immigrants because the federal government has not been effective.
"It has nothing to do with Arizona," La Russa said. "What it has something to do with is that states should take care of what the federal government's not taking care of. That's their responsibility."
When it comes to politics, La Russa declined to identify his affiliation, saying he goes "issue to issue." He noted his father was a union man in the Teamsters.
"Sometimes I'm over there," he said. "Sometimes I'm over here."
Gov. Jan Brewer signed a state law in April requiring police officers to question a person's immigration status if there's reasonable doubt they might be in the country illegally.
Opponents of the law have called for Major League Baseball to move the 2011 All-Star Game out of Arizona.
Three-time NL MVP Albert Pujols, one of several Hispanic players on the Cardinals roster, had no comment on La Russa's statements.
"Don't talk to me about that," Pujols said. "It's not my business."
Reliever Kyle McClellan, the team's player representative, said he didn't think the issue would affect the All-Star Game and noted that there had been revisions to the law.
"Everybody's entitled to their opinion, and obviously every major league player is not going to have the same opinion," McClellan said. "It doesn't affect me, so I don't really have an opinion on it."