April 15 is an important day when it comes each year, not just for sports fans but for the nation: it marks the day Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson broke the Major League Baseball color barrier. This day is beautiful. Every player in the league wears No. 42, there are speeches, flyovers, songs and tributes all in honor of Robinson.
The celebration is not limited to the baseball diamond, however. President Barack Obama tweeted about the event and every news source across the nation runs a piece in remembrance of what Robinson did.
What he did was courageous and noble. He was essentially plucked out of a crowd to spearhead the color barrier in baseball – a huge hero within the Civil Rights movement.
Even with Robinson’s effort and the fact that America celebrates him every year, we have so far to go.
We always talk about the progress we have made toward equality but don’t seem to acknowledge the fact that racism is very much alive and thriving in some parts of our country. Don’t believe me? Just ask Senior Vice President of the Atlanta Braves and Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.
Earlier this month, “Hammerin’ Hank” was honored for the 40th anniversary of his 715th home run that broke Babe Ruth’s record at the time.
During the celebration, he was quoted saying the racist culture is far from gone in America. Ironically, he received some nasty “fan mail” in response to his comments that is despicable even by pre-Robinson standards of race relations.
“Hank Aaron is a scumbag piece of (expletive) (racial slur),” someone identified only as Edward in an email to the Braves front office said, according to USA Today.
Good ol’ Ed went on to use the n-word five more times before finishing his statement by saying, “My old man instilled in my mind from a young age that the only good (racial slur) is a dead (racial slur).” This was just one of hundreds of letters that USA Today released.
I’m not sure what, but I think there is something to be said about Aaron discussing racism while his employer’s mascot is pretty controversial. To that same effect, the Cleveland Indians have quietly dismantling the team’s racist elements after the heat it has taken in recent years.
Now, the team’s former mascot Chief Wahoo can only be found on the faces of dumb/ignorant/idiot fans with the gall to attend a game red-faced.
If you attend a football game at FedEx Field in Washington, however, that racism is not just there, it’s standing its ground. Dan Snyder, the owner of that team in the nation’s capital, is pretty well known as a racist – fitting in that the franchise was founded and based in racism. Speaking of gall, Snyder recently decided to start the “Original Americans Foundation” in a sad – and ironic – attempt convince the public he is not racist. People: when a team’s mascot is literally the ignorantly perceived color of someone’s skin, you have blatant racism. End of story.
Sure, we have made progress, but to exactly what extent is muddled. Anytime we think we’re doing okay, some idiot comes along to remind us that racism stands proud in 2014.
Jackie Robinson Day is celebrated every April 15 and it is a day that I, along with many other sports fans, look forward to. This year, that day was ruined. That is what idiots do – they ruin good things.
This is not about sports, though, this is about humans. Racism has no place anywhere, including sports. Simply put.
Let us just hope that we take a few steps forward before the next giant leap backward.