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SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ Jarrett Bell spoke to his sources within Seattle’s organization and uncovers a different story of how their issues with Kaepernick unfolded.
USA TODAY Sports

The issue of race relations in sports comes to the forefront in baseball every April 15, the anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in the major leagues. 

In Robinson’s honor, all players, coaches, managers and umpires wear the No. 42, which MLB retired for all teams in 1997.

Free agent NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick marked the occasion to call attention to another aspect of Robinson’s legacy — the battle for racial equality in society.

In a sentiment Kaepernick has echoed throughout his protests as an NFL player, he quoted Robinson’s words in a tweet Sunday: “I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world.”

The line, written as part of Robinson’s preface to his autobiography, was penned in 1972. Robinson died later that year.

Kaepernick last played in the NFL in 2016 with the San Francisco 49ers. His decision to kneel during the national anthem to call attention to racial inequality and police brutality sparked a national controversy. Kaepernick has not been able to catch on with an NFL team since. 

Last week, he was scheduled to meet with the Seattle Seahawks, but the team postponed the meeting after Kaepernick refused to say whether or not he’d continue the protests.

Follow Gardner on Twitter @SteveAGardner

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