Deja Vu All Over Again for Arizona

Posted: February 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

On February 1st, 2015, the state of Arizona is scheduled to host the 49th Super Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. That honor was given to jan brewerthem on October 11, 2011, when Glendale defeated Tampa, Florida in the final round of voting for the rights to host the NFL’s championship game. Now, that right is coming into question. With the passage of Arizona’s new “Anti-Gay Law,” which allows businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation, the NFL will be placed in an uncomfortable circumstance if the state’s governor, Jan Brewer, doesn’t veto the bill. All signs point to the league finding an alternate venue to play next year’s Super Bowl in, as allowing the game to take place in a state that has once again proven itself to be beneath the fiber of the rest of society would be a travesty.

This wouldn’t be the first time that Arizona cost itself a Super Bowl. In fact, this entire situation similarly occurred over 20 years ago in The Copper State. Super Bowl XXVII (27), played in January, 1993, was originally intended to be played in Tempe, Arizona at Sun Devil Stadium. In 1990, that venue was voted as the host for the league’s 27th Super Bowl. But, things quickly changed in response to Arizona’s actions towards the institution of Martin Luther King Day.

The story goes like this: In 1983, U.S. President Ronald Reagan (R) signed a bill that created a federal holiday known as Martin Luther King Day. In 1986, the first year that the holiday was observed, Arizona Governor Bruce Babbitt (D) issued an executive order creating the holiday after super bowl 27the Republican controlled state legislature voted against observation of Dr. King. That action did not last long, as Babbitt’s replacement in office, Republican Evan Mecham, rescinded the executive order a year later. Mecham noted that Babbitt did not have the executive authority to issue such an order and that Arizona would no longer observe the holiday.

Mecham became widely vilified for comments he made in the New York Times in December of 1986. In the article, the Arizona Governor stated that King did not deserve a holiday and that black supporters of the law should be more concerned with getting jobs. African-American entertainers as well as the widow of Dr. King, Coretta Scott King, orchestrated a boycott of the state. Finally, following Mecham’s removal from office in 1989, the state legislature approved the holiday. But, popular opposition to the law forced the holiday to be put on the ballot in November, 1990. There, it was defeated by popular vote in the state of Arizona and the holiday was no longer observed.

The NFL responded in kind by making good on their threats to strip the state of their right to host the Super Bowl. In 1991, the league held another vote, and Pasadena, CA was given the rights to host Super Bowl XXVII. That would be the last Super Bowl played in the Los Angeles Logo_unveiled_for_Super_Bowl_XLIX_host_c_1142380000_20131203070819_320_240area. Arizona would host Super Bowl XXX in 1996 after Arizona voters finally reached the 20th century by acknowledging the holiday during the 1992 elections. If Jan Brewer doesn’t veto this abhorrent bill, then Arizona could once again see their right to host the Super Bowl go by the wayside. This would not only be a public relations nightmare for the state. But, the loss of the game and all the festivities that go along with it would cripple the state’s economic outlook. Not to mention all the damage to the economy that isn’t football related that will occur if the law is signed by Brewer.

To some of us, the passage of this vicious attempt at segregation is mind-boggling and asinine. For the state of Arizona, it’s just deja vu all over again.

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