Finding Inspiration in the Reverse Boycott

Hopeful sports lawyer turning the academic study of law and history into practice

We stood in silence at the top of the fifth. Then, we heard the roar of voices and stomping and clapping. “SELL.THE.TEAM!” The Reverse Boycott – started by fans of the Oakland Athletics and joined by baseball fans like me – gained national attention this summer as word spread through social media. The Oakland Coliseum was more crowded than ever. Baseball fans from around the country attended to persuade the Athletics ownership to stop the process of moving the team to Las Vegas. As Raider fans, we knew that feeling all too well.

I spent my summer finishing my doctoral dissertation on religion, labor, and immigration in California’s Central Valley. While the Reverse Boycott and workers in Fresno might seem unrelated, they are deeply connected to a tradition of multi-ethnic, multi-religious, class-transcending protest and striking in the Golden State. I found myself comparing the organizers of the Reverse Boycott to organizers of the United Farm Workers movement. Of course, fighting for a baseball team is different than demanding a living wage. But the Reverse Boycott named the stadium workers as a reason to stay in Oakland: moving the team would cause several thousand workers who earn their wages at the Coliseum to lose their livelihoods. The crowd was diverse on all fronts: race, ethnicity, religious identity, age, ability. I thought about what this meant for studying law, since Loyola’s orientation was mere weeks away.

I imagine everyone who begins law school is met with the question, “what kind of law?” I can’t answer that question yet: there is too much to explore, and I am enjoying the collective wonder and stress with my peers. I can’t help continuing to admire the Reverse Boycott organizers’ commitment to labor justice and advocacy for many immigrant workers. I am excited to continue the journey and learn.