Thursday, April 05, 2007

What's Wrong with #42

What's with all of the criticism I've been reading online about the Dodgers wearing #42 on April 15? It's just one game.

Last night I heard Vin Scully mention that the entire Dodger team would be wearing the number 42 to commemorate Jackie Robinson and I was elated. What a nice gesture by the team to celebrate the great Mr. Robinson.

He played during a time when second class status was given to a large part of the American public. He carried the pain and bore the brunt of decades of discrimination. He was cursed at. His life was threatened. In spite of all this he became a trailblazer that made it possible for all people to be seen as equals. A persons skin color should be irrelevant in Baseball, as a persons skin color should be irrelevant in life. Jackie Robinson is one of America's greatest heroes.

The act of the team to honor this man in this manner is indicative of that message.

I read many stories online and in the paper about Ken Griffey, Jr. and other players requesting the opportunity to honor this man by wearing his number. All of them were African Americans. It was as if it would have been improper for anyone else to participate.

This would only have cheapened the accomplishment that Jackie had achieved.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." When Jackie stepped on that field that fateful afternoon he saved all of us. Not just African Americans, or minorities in general, but white America as well.

So on that Sunday afternoon I will put on my clothes making sure I wear my Jackie Robinson cap. I will put my various Robinson pins on my chest. I will encourage all of my friends, my African American friends, my Asian friends, my Hispanic friends and my Caucasian friends to honor this man. His sacrifice would not be complete unless we do.

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