Jackie Robinson Refused to Salute the Flag, Stand for National Anthem – Authorship Confirmed!
Summary of eRumor:
Baseball great Jackie Robinson once said, “I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag. I know that I am a black man in a white world.”
Jackie Robinson, the first black man to play professional baseball, actually made these comments about the National Anthem and saluting the flag.
Robinson’s comments were drudged up after NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during the paying of the National Anthem during a San Francisco 49ers preseason football game. In explanation, Kaepernick said:
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
The move sparked national debate about whether or not refusing to rise for the singing of the National Anthem was an appropriate way to protest social issues.
During that debate, comments that appeared in Jackie Robinson’s autobiography, “I Never Had It Made,” were used to argue in favor of Kaepernick’s protest:
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.
So we can confirm that Jackie Robinson actually wrote that he could not stand for the singing of the National Anthem.