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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson NOT Joining Arizona Boycott

Posted By on Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 12:41 PM

Kevin Johnson reveals he's always loathed AZ bigotry

click to enlarge Here Gavin: Fake!
  • Here Gavin: Fake!
Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, a former point guard for the Phoenix Suns, announced Wednesday he'd join Gavin Newsom's boycott of Arizona. That turned out to be a political pump-fake: Johnson changed his mind hours later.

In a midday post on his personal blog yesterday, Johnson revealed a little known fact: He resented having to move to Arizona in 1988 when he was traded from the Cleveland Caveliers, because the state politics was driven by bigotry then, just as it is now.

That evening, however, Johnson told the Sacramento Bee he'd had a change of heart, after Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon pleaded with the ex-Sun not to join a boycott that would hurt his old home town.


Here's the text of Johnson's Wednesday fakeout:

I've never said much about this, but there was deep personal sadness when I was traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Phoenix Suns in February 1988. The trouble had no connection with basketball. I was ashamed of my new state for another reason: A year before the trade, Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham rescinded the holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Suddenly, I was expected to play my heart out for audiences proud to denigrate the civil rights victories won by Dr. King. Arizona needed five years and the loss of an estimated $300 million in tourism dollars - including the removal of the 1993 Super Bowl - before voters finally gave Dr. King his day.

Today memories of those sorry days have returned. Arizona is back at it, passing a law that allows police to demand ID from anyone who "looks" like an undocumented immigrant.

Later in the day, however, Johnson added this:

I spoke with Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon on Wednesday afternoon (April 28). He asked me not to call for economic sanctions and boycotts against Arizona. As mayors, we share a common understanding of negative economic impacts. Damaging the good work of Mayor Gordon and the many honorable people in his city in retribution for the immigration law can become the equivalent of trying to make two wrongs equal one right.

But I strongly feel we must seek a positive resolution to Arizona's injustice, hopefully with dialogue. I will go to Arizona and meet with leaders there if that will help. And at Sacramento City Hall, I will begin the process of seeking collaboration on this issue with my colleagues at City Hall.

If David Campos can't get boycott backup from a nearby mayor who personally abhors the racist strain in Arizona politics, our Board of Supervisors may end up alone on this one.

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Matt Smith


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