Smithsonian Magazine

Where is the NFL’s Branch Rickey

With tears in my eyes I watched “42”, the movie of now American icon Jackie Robinson. The bravery, courage, and determination, of Robinson is one of legend. One that changed baseball and American history forever.

His legend (Robinson), stands alongside the likes of Ghandi, King, Lincoln, Parks, and Ali. All of them living sacrifice daily, with an understanding of a higher purpose, a calling that goes beyond them and their lives. In his own words Jackie believed that,

“a life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” — Jackie Robinson

With all that, it’s not Robinson who stood out to me the most. Probably because his story is well documented, but it was the heroism and true foresight of one, Branch Rickey, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers. This man believed in what Robinson stood for, before even Robinson himself . He put his family, his status, and even his own life in harms way for an ideal that can be summed up in this quote,

Associated Press
“Problems are the price you pay for progress” — Branch Rickey

That very mindset is why he knew that fighting for Jackie, meant fighting for progress.

In every fight, in every movement, for every change, you need invested champions that are not directly affected by the struggle. Those are the people that see injustice and know that it is on them to fight it. They are the one’s with everything to lose but understand that doing nothing means we’ve all lost.

Reflecting on this movie, I ask myself where is the Branch Ricky in the NFL? The person that is brave enough to stand up and support Colin Kapernick? Where is the person that is willing to risk sponsors and profit in the name of progress?

Colin hasn’t broken a law, or committed a crime, he’s simply a victim of using the freedom we are afforded as American citizens to stand up for injustice that he’s personally experienced. needed attention to consistent injustice through true and unselfish actions. Many people talk about what is right, many people scream and shout about what should be done, but there a few that like Robinson, and Kapernick that simply and peacefully take action.

We should all be aware of what Colin has put on the line with “a knee”; in an open and free market he could be making $12–$17 million, and due to his stance (literally his stance) he hasn’t even been invited to camp. This man has sacrificed security and comfort of both himself and his family, for progress for all.

Good luck Colin Kapernick , I hope you find your Branch Rickey, or better yet, I hope he finds you.

cc: NFL