Ken Burns’ 4 hour salute of Jackie Robinson premiered on Monday. A few notes:
- He was a UCLA Bruin. The Dodgers wanted a college man for its first African-American player.
- There was no law against having Black players. There was not anything in the baseball rules. It was a “Gentleman’s Agreement” that was ruining our national game.
- There were no anti-discrimination laws in those days. If you were born Black or Jewish, you lived with this as an everyday reality. The NAACP fought on a daily basis to get rid of discrimination. It was so awful that when there was a lynching, they would hang a banner outside their New York headquarters proclaiming “A man was lynched yesterday.”
- Beware blogs, tweets, Facebook posts or any other social media entries that talk about the “good old days.” The courts existed to help some but not all.
For more sports-related legal takes, please follow our Sports Law Scoreboard blog.