One of the myths of the game is that Robinson was chosen by Rickey because of his forbearance, his ability to absorb slurs without hitting back.

To anyone who knew him, the notion of Jackie Robinson turning the other cheek, putting up with insults, was laughable. I have never been able to find one veteran chronicler of the early Robinson days who remembers Jackie being anything but truculent and unbending in the face of slurs and insults.

Jackie made sure you treated him as a man. He didn’t suffer fools gladly. … He was as deeply suspicious of the flatterers as he was the bigots.

Jackie wore no man’s collar. Ever. Long before Rosa Parks, he had refused to move to the back of the bus—in the Army. He was court-martialed. He was acquitted.

I remember once, in a kind of confidential exchange I had with him, I was brash enough to suggest incautiously, “But, Jackie, on the whole, wasn’t there less bigotry and intolerance out there than you expected?”

Jackie fixed me with a glare.

"There shouldn’t have been any,” he said sternly.

You never argued with Jackie Robinson. He made America live up to its promises. [x]

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