Birthday Celebration of MLB Legend Jackie Robinson, A Reminder That Sports Is Always Political
Feb 01, 2017 11:43 AM EST
Last Tuesday, Jan. 31, was not like any other day of the year. On that day, we celebrated one of the greatest baseball players of all time and true icon in Major League Baseball (MLB).
Last Tuesday was Jackie Robinson's birthday. As reported by CBS Sports, Robinson's birthday is a reminder to all of us that sports and politics do mix. As much as we want sports and politics to be separated from each other, they always cross paths.
Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to play professional baseball in the major leagues. Robinson played his first professional baseball game with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947, according to History. During that time, the mere fact that an African-American player was playing America's favorite pastime was unacceptable.
Even though Jackie Robinson is one of the most revered revered heroes in American history and still universally loved up to this day, back in 1947 he was widely despised. Robinson was seen as a trespasser trying to break through barriers during a time of segregation. After decades of pre-dominantly white baseball players and white supremacy all across the United States, the mere fact that Robinson, an African -American, is playing in a baseball game became deeply political.
Racism still exists to this day, 70 years after that historical day. The good news is that it's not as worse during Jackie Robinson's time. However, there's one constant thing that still remains to this day and that is there's always politics in sports.
In the world of baseball, what may seem like just an ordinary business decision is in fact political when you dig deeper. Minor-league baseball players earning far less than minimum wage is political. Oppositions of that stance argue that the minor-league players should be paid more than the $12,000 a year they make and they should also be properly compensated. They said that we are all entitled to a living wage and any form of labor in any field should be paid properly.
Jackie Robinson may have broken barriers when he played his first game in 1947. It gave players freedom to play without fear. It also gave us a lesson on that there's always politics in sports because it's impossible to keep politics out of sports.