From VIS à VIS, vol. 5, no. 5, May 1991, p. 16.

Letter about NFL and Martin Luther King Day

In the profile on NFL commsisioner Paul Tagliabue [January], it is claimed that he recommended "that the 1993 Super Bowl be taken away from Phoenix when its residents voted down observing Martin Luther King Day in that city." This sentence is false for numerous reasons. First of all, Phoenix has a Martin Luther King Day, as does Tempe, where the Super Bowl would actually be played. Second, Arizona also has an official Martin Luther King Day, which occurs on a Sunday and is not a paid holiday for state employees. Third, the proposition that was voted down by Arizonans, which would have made it a paid holiday for state employees, received a majority of votes in the cities of Phoenix, Tempe and Tucson, and in both Maricopa and Pima counties.

Tagliabue is far from the moral hero depicted by the profile, having taken no action to deal with the real racial discrimination in the NFL, which has no black team owners and only one black head coach, despite a majority of black players.


[I could also have mentioned that part of the failure at that time to pass an MLK holiday for state employees (which was successfully passed in 1992) was that there were two competing propositions to create one.]