[In 1972,] I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world.Two years earlier, in a letter to his agent, Robinson wrote:
I once put my freedom into mothballs for a season, accepted humiliation and physical hurt and derision and threats to my family in order to do my bit to help make a lily white sport a truly American game. Many people approved of me for that kind of humility. For them, it was the appropriate posture for a black man. ...See also: Shaun King's column in the New York Daily News: "If You Hate Colin Kaepernick, You Must Also Hate Jackie Robinson":
But when I straightened up my back so oppressors could no longer ride upon it, some of the same people said I was arrogant, argumentative and temperamental. What they call arrogant, I call confidence. What they call argumentative, I categorize as articulate. What they label temperamental, I cite as human. ...
I do not have to wave flags or have stickers on my car or wear patriotic cufflinks or armbands on my sleeve. I do not have to leave this country at the suggestion of some third generation European who wants to compare grandfathers — his who came here seeking freedom and immediately enslaved others for his own advancement — and mine who was brought here in chains in the stinking hold of a ship.
This land is my land as much as it is his. And it is his, too. With the land, I've been told, Americans inherit the legacy of free speech, free expression, of the right to dissent. I always intend to indulge that freedom.
In America, brave heroes who stand against injustice have a way of being hated, booed, and mercilessly jeered when they are alive and celebrated to the point of near sainthood when they pass from time to eternity.