The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Sports Talk-Robinson deserves more than a day

By Chris Cates/sports editor

Legend Jackie Robinson was honored with Jackie Robinson Day April 15, the 60th anniversary of his first game.

Robinson can be remembered as many things: great player, pioneer for an entire race, legend. It’s safe to
say this was a special man. Robinson paved the way for such athletes as Ken Griffey, Barry Bonds and
Hank Aaron when he broke the color barrier in 1947.

His number 42 was retired throughout baseball in 1997. However, on Jackie Robinson Day this year, many players wore number 42 jerseys in honor of the former Dodger great, marking the first such occasion since the number’s retirement.

The small number of black players in today’s game is somewhat troubling. A perception exists that baseball and hockey are the white man’s sports while basketball and football are the black man’s. And if that perception is reality, we need to rid ourselves of the situation quickly.

An athlete is an athlete is an athlete, and any preconceived, race-related notions as far as any given sport
is co Chris Catessports editor ncerned should be thrown out the window.

Carl Crawford, Ryan Howard, Rickey Henderson, Bo Jackson—these black baseball players are or have been among the elite of their sport. But one look at any major league roster doesn’t do too much to help the argument.

Having said all that, there is no more color barrier—at least not a visible one. Any athlete can try to play baseball if he so pleases, and in today’s game, it appears that talent will be recognized as such regardless of the color of one’s skin. So having only one American-born black player—Kenny Lofton—on the Rangers’ active roster can be attributed to the possibility only one of every 20 or 30 people who enjoy baseball is, in fact, black.

You aren’t just going to go out and ask people to play baseball because of the color of their skin nor is this necessary.

Making this argument is possible because of Jackie Robinson’s feat. Anybody who wants to play baseball—white, black or green—has a chance to do so although that wasn’t the case 60 years ago. Robinson endured endless struggles because of the color of his skin, but as a result, today’s players can lead mostly worry-free careers.

This man deserves more than just a “day.” Robinson is just as important to baseball as any other individual … be it Babe Ruth or Abner Doubleday, the inventor of baseball.

Could it hurt to have a 42 permanently stitched into every hat and jersey or to have a month dedicated to Jackie Robinson?

Jackie Robinson changed more than baseball; he changed the landscape of professional sports and life in general. Without this step, who knows what would have happened with the 1960s Civil Rights movement.

Maybe guys like Mike Vick and Allen Iverson wouldn’t be looked upon as celebrities today. Jackie Robinson’s legacy will live on forever, and his impact will be felt for just as long.

As far as I’m concerned, every day is Jackie Robinson Day.

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