Jackson’s support for the Arizona statute, which can only be enforced through impermissible racial profiling of Latinos, came to light on the eve of Monday’s first game in the series. Jackson was asked by an ESPN columnist what he thought of the Suns’ owner and players declaring their solidarity with the law’s opponents by wearing jerseys that read “Los Suns” during a game on Cinco de Mayo. The L.A. coach replied, “Am I crazy, or am I the only one that heard [the Arizona Legislature] say, ‘We just took the United States immigration law and adopted it to our state?’ ” Arizona lawmakers simply “gave it some teeth to be able to enforce it,” he said…

It won’t do. Jackson’s original statement was not a declaration of neutrality, nor was it an argument for holding sport above politics. It was an endorsement of the Arizona law and a criticism of another NBA team that opposes it.

Just as Jackson’s convoluted clarification does not excuse him in this controversy of his own making, neither will the insistence by some of his admirers that this is just another example of the psychological warfare he routinely wages against playoff opponents. In that implausible schema, Jackson is supposed to have spoken favorably of the dubious Arizona statute as a way of inciting Phoenix fans who also support the law against their hometown team.