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June 1, 2010
LET'S KEEP POLITICS OUT OF ITTerry Hennessy CEO
For the first time in the 22 years since Senior Softball-USA was founded, we have been asked to take a position on a political issue.
The SSUSA office has received a number of calls from players threatening to boycott the World Championships in Phoenix in October to protest the Arizona State Legislature’s passage of SB 1070, the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act.”
The act “includes provisions adding state penalties relating to immigration law enforcement including trespassing, harboring and transporting illegal immigrants, alien registration documents, employer sanctions, and human smuggling,” according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Players who called in say that the law not only targets illegal aliens, but also thousands of Americans of Mexican heritage who have been citizens of this country for many years. They have asked SSUSA to move the World Championships from Phoenix in protest.
We will not – and cannot – take a political position on any issue.
SSUSA is a sports organization dedicated to providing an opportunity for ALL people to play senior softball. That means people of all faiths, of all colors, of all heritage – and of all political beliefs.
As soon as SSUSA takes a position on any political, religious or other issue, we alienate the people on the other side of the issue; they feel unwelcome playing the sport they love.
The softball field is one of the few, precious patches of ground where people can forget the inequities of society and simply play ball.
On many teams, players know little or nothing about the political or religious beliefs of their teammates. The criteria for acceptance is simple – and the same for every person -- hit well, field the ball cleanly, play your best and be a team player.
Our goal is to keep it that way.
-- Terry Hennessy, SSUSA Chief Executive Officer