The 42 Fetish Turns Jackie Robinson Day Into a Farce

baseball_toutjpgJackie Robinson integrated Major League Baseball.  His deed was important athletically, but even more important culturally.  We should be reminded from where we came.  Jackie Robinson Day is a great thing.  Why does baseball perpetuate the obsession with number 42?

Robinson is an iconic figure.  His number was the least iconic thing about him.  People obsessed, inflamed, or heartened by Robinson were too fixated on his black skin to notice what number he was wearing.

In past years there were designated 42s, then league wide optional 42s, then entire teams wearing 42 and now the entire league will wear the number 42.  It’s idiotic.  It denigrates the day.  It turns it into a farce.  It deflects attention from racism and toward a meaningless numerical figure.

By retiring the number and exploiting it on April 15 every year, baseball has robbed minority players of the one true mark of respect, wearing the number in silent remembrance.

Play documentaries at the ballpark.  Donate to charities.  Give away tickets to inner city children.  Drop the number fetish.  It’s unseemly.

If Jackie Robinson could return today, he would not marvel with sentiment at everyone wearing his number.  He would wonder why so few of them were black.

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