The real Jackie Robinson was far from the man who had agreed to enter base­ball so del­i­cately with the mis­sion to not offend anyone, so his out­spo­ken­ness on major civil-​​rights issues was not a surprise.

He had the suc­cess; he had the posi­tion,” says Dan Lebowitz, exec­u­tive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity in Boston. “It was incum­bent on him as a leader of men, not just of his race but of men, to speak out. Looking back, it wasn’t that sur­prising. He was a pos­i­tive force in moving the pen­dulum for­ward in the area of social justice.”

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