The discrimination and treatment that Jackie Robinson suffered at the hands of white umpires, players, other owners and managers, fans, and even hotels when traveling is well-known. I felt like the movie approached the racism with a light touch, not really getting into the true cruelty and evil.
I got the feeling, though, that may have been because Writer/Director Brian Helgeland wanted the movie to focus elsewhere. Instead, he told a story of courage and sportsmanship and love that is far more powerful than ignorance or hate could ever be.
I have long thought that all African-American athletes owe a little bit of their career to Jackie Robinson. If it wasn't for the road he paved, many careers would have been much shorter, or even non-existent.
After seeing the movie, and reading a bit about Mr. Robinson, I have changed my mind. He did more than just break baseball's color-barrier. He represented hope and encouragement to people who, until that point, were told they couldn't. He stood up and said he wouldn't be told no, and that he wasn't there to fight - he just wanted a chance to play. He didn't ask for anything to be handed to him, he just asked that he be treated with the respect he earned.
Jackie Robinson is a hero to anyone who has ever doubted, lost hope, or wondered if he could achieve his dreams. He is a hero to anyone who has ever been told he wasn't good enough, or that his goals were out of reach. He is a hero to anyone who has ever had to make a choice between turning the other cheek, or defending himself in a fight. He is a hero to anyone who has ever tried to make a change for the better, to right a wrong, or to simply make a difference.
Jackie Robinson is a hero to everyone.