@kwellscomm PraiseIndy.com Sports —
Another professional athlete is entering the frey defending San Francisco 49’ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest of the National Anthem. He’s Baltimore Orioles star outfielder Adam Jones. Jones told USA Today the reason there hasn’t been a protest in baseball is because it’s “a white man’s sport.” Only eight-percent of major league players are black, compared to 68-percent in the NFL. Jones believes a protest would not be supported in baseball, due to a lack of strength in numbers. Kaepernick and other football players have sat or taken a knee during the “Star Spangled Banner” to make a stance against racial inequality and police brutality in the U.S. Some have raised a “black power fist” as well. Though the protest has caught on in sports–from soccer (U.S. women’s national soccer team member Megan Rapinoe) to college (West Virginia University Institute of Technology volleyball players) down to prep players in high schools (Michael Oppong, a football player at Doherty Memorial High School in Worcester, Massachusetts), Jones says no one in baseball has knelt, yet. He reiterated the “key word here: Yet.”
Baseball players have and example to look at–the man who broke the color barrier in baseball, Jackie Robinson. In Robinson’s 1972 autobiography entitled, I Never Had It Made, he wrote:
“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.”
*Late-boxing legend Muhammad Ali knew about protest during his life and standing up for what he believed in. One of those things was service to humanity. His widow, Lonnie Ali, is keeping that legacy alive and invites you to join a year-long campaign, “Ali In All of Us” to serve. Click HERE to listen to my conversation with Mrs. Ali.*
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