Sports are meant to take us away from the problems that we have in real life, whether they be personal, political or both. Sometimes it’s unavoidable that sports must address a controversial issue within a given community and that’s exactly what is happening in Arizona at the moment as the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury have taken a stand against an anti-gay rights bill passed in their state this month.
Both teams released a joint statement on Tuesday stating that while they respect the state they play in, they cannot support a bill that alienates sections of their fan base.
"The Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury issue the following statement regarding Arizona Senate Bill 1062: “Sports has the unique power to unite, to bring together a community without regard to individual differences. The Phoenix Suns & Phoenix Mercury are proud members of this community, and we embrace fans, families and businesses of every stripe. We are steadfastly committed to the principles of inclusivity and acceptance, and cannot support anything that is not in line with that philosophy.”"
Arizona has the rights to pass their own bills, but we’re seeing that this also means corporations have the right to withdraw the inclusion of Arizona in their business plans. The NFL is considering taking away the Super Bowl from Arizona and this stance by two major sports teams sends a clear message as well.
The Suns have been politically active in the past, as they’re clearly a team the looks out for all of their fans. This stance against the anti-gay rights bill in Arizona is just the latest in a line of political messages the Suns haven’t been afraid to send and it’s likely not going to be the last either.