MLB Joins Arizona SB 1062 “Exercise of Region” Debate

By Melissa Felkins

Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona SB 1062, which gives businesses in the state of Arizona the “free exercise of religion” (according to the bill), has caused quite a stir in the last few days. Rumors are swirling that the NLF is considering relocating Super Bowl XLIX if the bill is passed. The Arizona Cardinals and the NFL have made statements coming out against the bill.

"Our policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard."

Today, Major League Baseball issued their own statement about the controversial bill.

"As the sport of Jackie Robinson, Major League Baseball and its 30 Clubs stand united behind the principles of respect, inclusion and acceptance. Those values are fundamental to our game’s diverse players, employees and fans. We welcome individuals of different sexual orientations, races, religions, genders and national origins."

"MLB has a zero-tolerance policy for harassment or discrimination based on sexual orientation, as reflected by our collective bargaining agreement with the MLB Players Association. Accordingly, MLB will neither support nor tolerate any words, attitudes or actions that imperil the inclusive communities that we have strived to foster within our game."

Since MLB has a large presence in Arizona during Spring Training, currently going on, it makes sense that they would feel compelled to make a statement. Obviously, they are not going to relocate all the teams from Arizona because of the bill (at least, I wouldn’t imagine that would happen under this circumstance), but they could be concerned that some of their fan base may want to avoid the state. Fans staying out of Arizona will certainly not help baseball or Spring Training business.

While, it could just be that – a business move – I say good for MLB, and the NFL for that matter, for taking a stand one way or the other on the bill.

What do you think? Should MLB and the NFL have an opinion about this strongly divisive bill?