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Colin Kaepernick Invokes Jackie Robinson’s ‘I Cannot Stand’ For Anthem

Colin Kaepernick celebrated Major League Baseball’s Jackie Robinson Day on Sunday by quoting the Brooklyn Dodgers great on an issue that has defined the quarterback.

Kaepernick posted a tweet with a photo of Robinson ― who broke baseball’s color barrier on April 15, 1947 ― and a passage from Robinson’s 1972 autobiography, I Never Had It Made:

“I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world.”

Kaepernick became a symbol of sports activism in 2016, when he began kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. The movement spread to other players and NFL teams ― and beyond ― drawing President Donald Trump’s repeated objections.

On Sunday, Kaepernick and Robinson’s voice appeared to become one.

For The Win provided a fuller portion of Robinson’s quote:

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.

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