NY Times on Jackie Robinson: Why did he have to be a Republican?

Legendary Pictures biopic of Jackie Robinson – “42” opens in theaters today – but the New York Times already tells you everything you think it needs to know about the iconic baseball player who reshaped the country’s sports and cultural landscape, had such an impact on the game that his number was retired for all teams forever, and basically stands as a symbol of truth, justice and the American way.

“… Robinson was a committed Republican who campaigned for Richard M. Nixon in the 1960 presidential  election.”

Jackie RobinsonThat was the stunning revelation in last Sunday’s preview of the movie. If it’s not clear exactly what that has to do with the merits of the movie (not much, apparently), Robinson’s merits as a ballplayer (nothing), or his measure as a man (even less), it is very clear it has everything to do with how the New York Times  sees American history, politics and all times, past and present:

Republicans  are bad.

And a black Republican – one who campaigned against the patron saint of American liberalism, no less – is inconceivable. (“Complicated” is the word in the piece, but that’s NYT humor. Its intellectual-lib readers will know what it means, and grin wryly.)

The preview stresses parts of Robinson’s autobiography that show him an angry man, writing in 1972 that he could not “stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world.”

This is America. You can stand and sing the anthem or not, if you don’t want to. You can salute the flag or not, it’s up to you. (You can also, if you’re an American hero, make a bucket of money telling people how much you don’t want to do either.)

The only thing that’s truly unforgivable, according to the New York Times, is being a black man who campaigns for Republicans.

It’s too complicated.

Joe Saunders

Joe Saunders, a 25-year newspaper veteran, is a staff writer and editor for BizPac Review who lives in Tallahassee and covers capital and Florida politics. Email Joe at [email protected].


4 thoughts on “NY Times on Jackie Robinson: Why did he have to be a Republican?

  1. jim says:

    Still miss those Bums.

  2. Jackie Robinson was an excellent ballplayer, and a gentleman conservative republican, honest and humble!!!!

    God save his soul!!!!Amen!

  3. Jay says:

    It's better when you provide a link to the actual story.


  4. Doug Hanks says:

    Things were not so polarized then. Eisenhower was enormously popular and could have easily been elected for a third term in 1960 except that the Republicans had ramrodded the two-term limit out of fear of another FDR. Congress actually worked together then. They would profess to be poles apart and then at the end would come up with a satisfactory compromise.

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