Jackie Robinson Day and ‘sticking to sports’

So, today is April 15.

Which means all Major League Baseball players are wearing the same number. You know which one, right?


You know why, right?

Of course you do. It’s became today is Jackie Robinson Day.

Why is it Jackie Robinson Day? Of course you know this. It’s the day, in 1947, that Robinson first played for the Brooklyn Dodgers and became the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball’s modern era.

It’s a day that is widely, and rightfully, celebrated in baseball.

It’s also the day that puts an end to any “stick to sports” argument.

It is fundamentally and intellectually dishonest to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day, to honor what Robinson did and what he meant, and to also insist that professional athletes not speak out out social or political concerns. Robinson’s debut was one of the most epochal moments in American history, because it was a formative step in the Civil Rights Movement. The breaking of the color barrier was a political act.

To celebrate Robinson while insisting that Colin Kaepernick not kneel for the national anthem shows that you do not want athletes to “stick to sports.” You only want athletes to speak out of you agree with them, or if they can make you feel good about sports’ place in our society.

To celebrate Robinson while insisting Kaepernick stand is an act of utmost hypocrisy.