On Cinco de Mayo Phoenix wore "Los Suns" shirts to protest Arizona's Senate Bill 1070 - a jaw-dropping bit of racist, xenophobic legislation. The Suns' decision has sparked much discussion about the place of politics in sports.
The idea that politics can be kept out of sport is giant fiction. If you are allowed to ignore the politics of your team's owners, it is only because this makes it easier for them to line their pockets.
For those wondering where the Suns got their "Los Suns" shirts, I thought I'd share the following: The "Los Suns" shirt comes out of "Noche Latina" - an annual NBA promotional gesture towards Latino fans, in which teams housed in cities with a large Latino market wear jerseys sporting their names as spoken in Spanish by fans (e.g. "El Heat", "Los Spurs" and, my favorite - though not my favorite team - "Los Lakers.")
A marketing gesture intended to acknowledge (and "monetize") Latino fans of NBA teams returns to the court as a provocative statement about what it means for NBA teams to support their fans.
If you want more on this topic, listen to this conversation between Dave Zirin and Greg Esposito. Zirin lists other instances in which sports is politicized openly - the owners of baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks have used their teams as platforms to raise money for Arizona Republicans, and to organize against abortion rights. It's a good long discussion and heats up pretty quickly. Well I guess we can be glad that soccer isn't baseball. Except, of course, it is.