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SANTA FE — Arizona’s immigration law will likely have much the same effect on Major League Baseball as its rejection of Martin Luther King Day had on pro football.
Here’s the history. When the St. Louis Cardinals relocated to Arizona, in 1988, the National Football League wanted to hold a Super Bowl in Phoenix as soon as possible.
In 1989, the Arizona Legislature approved the state’s participation in the Martin Luther King federal holiday. But opponents of the holiday collected signatures to put the matter on the 1990 Arizona ballot.
In early 1990, NFL owners met to decide on the location of the 1993 Super Bowl. Arizona was the odds-on favorite but NFL players, a large portion of whom were black, became edgy about that referendum.
So a delegation of state leaders, including Sen. John McCain, flew to the a meeting to inform the site selection committee that it would do all it could to win that election.
Arizona was awarded the 1993 Super Bowl. But several months later Arizona voters rejected the King holiday. NFL owners met again and moved the game to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
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