During a regular season series against the Cubs in May, the Los Angeles Dodgers made accommodations to stay at the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago. LA's slugging first baseman did not join his teammates, however, and you can probably guess why.
Adrian Gonzalez made other plans, presumably because the hotel is owned by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, reports J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group:
"I didn't stay there," Adrian Gonzalez confirmed. "I had my reasons."
You betcha, he did. Gonzalez, back in the Chicago with the Dodgers to play the first two games of the NLCS—driving in the only run of Game 2 with a solo home run in the second inning—would not elaborate about his feelings on the matter, adding only "We're here to play baseball not talk politics."
The Dodgers are not staying at a Trump property in Chicago this time, the team says, for logistical reasons. It is possible the team also realized that Gonzalez, and perhaps other Dodgers, would refuse again because of what has been happening in Trump's campaign.
The inference is obvious. Though he was born in San Diego, Gonzalez grew up in Mexico where his family has deep roots and his father owns a business. Gonzalez has played for the Mexican national team in numerous international competitions including the World Baseball Classic. He has been involved in charitable endeavors in Mexico, including refurbishing the sports complex in Tijuana where he played as a youth. Just this summer, he stepped in to help a youth baseball team from Mexico that was stranded in Los Angeles when its sponsor backed out of its commitment.
In 2010, Gonzalez spoke out against Arizona's infamous Senate Bill 1070, which allows police officers to stop anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally.
"It's immoral," Gonzalez told the San Diego Union-Tribune in 2010. "They're violating human rights. In a way, it goes against what this country was built on. This is discrimination. Are they going to pass out a picture saying "You should look like this and you're fine, but if you don't, do people have the right to question you?' That's profiling."
Gonzalez even threatened to boycott the 2011 All Star Game in Phoenix, a statement that attracted a lot of attention. He ended up starting in the game. Since then, Gonzalez has mostly shied away from political statements—until now.
As Hoornstra also notes, Trump has used Mexico as a main focal point of his campaign, expressing a desire to literally build a wall spanning the U.S.-Mexico border that would prevent illegal immigration to the north. Trump has said the people coming from Mexico are "rapists" who bring drugs and crime with them. The Washington Post reports that at least 13.1 million Latinos are expected to cast ballots in the general election Nov. 8, which would mark a 17 percent jump in turnout, along with an 8.7 percent share increase. A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC/Telemundo poll gave Hillary Clinton a 67-17 percent lead on Trump among likely Latino voters.
Gonzalez is not the only Latino, or even the only Mexican/Mexican-American, on the Dodgers roster. Hoornstra's post does not say if Gonzalez was the only one to object to Trump's hotel. Regardless of that, Gonzalez taking a stand does not appear to be an isolated incident. Foursquare reports that foot traffic at Trump properties was down 19 percent in September when compared to a year earlier.