Colin Kaepernick Reminds Us Jackie Robinson Didn’t Always Stand For National Anthem, Either (TWEET)
Jackie Robinson is widely regarded as one of the greatest heroes in the history of professional sports. The man broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier when he started at second base for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. After that he was subjected to all manners of racial abuse almost everywhere he went. However, no matter how hard it got, he never gave up. Jackie Robinson weathered the storm with grace and dignity so that the world might become a better place for future generations.
That’s why Jackie Robinson is the only player in the history of baseball to have his very own day. Every year, on April 15th, MLB celebrates Jackie Robinson day. Every player on every team wears Robinson’s no. 42, and prior to every game players and fans take a moment to recognize Robinson’s sacrifice.
Of course, despite the efforts of great men like Jackie Robinson, racial injustice persists in America to this day. That’s the point people like Colin Kaepernick are trying to make when they take a knee during the National Anthem. So it’s only fitting that, on Jackie Robinson Day, Kaepernick tweeted a quote from Jackie Robinson himself about why he couldn’t always bring himself to stand for the national anthem.
Take a look:
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) April 16, 2018
That quote comes from the preface to Jackie Robinson’s 1972 autobiography, I Never Had It Made. Here it is in its full context:
“There I was, the black grandson of a slave, the son of a black sharecropper, part of a historic occasion, a symbolic hero to my people. The air was sparkling. The sunlight was warm. The band struck up the national anthem. The flag billowed in the wind. It should have been a glorious moment for me as the stirring words of the national anthem poured from the stands. Perhaps, it was, but then again, perhaps, the anthem could be called the theme song for a drama called The Noble Experiment. Today, as I look back on that opening game of my first World Series, I must tell you that it was Mr. Rickey’s drama and that I was only a principal actor. As I write this twenty years later, I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world. In 1972, in 1947, at my birth in 1919, I know that I never had it made.”
Things are obviously better for African Americans today than they were for Jackie Robinson. Nobody is saying otherwise. But better is not good enough. Not when black men are getting arrested simply for waiting to meet somebody at a Starbucks.