What a fantastic film! I just saw it for the first time and loved it. Now this movie is PG-13 (probably for some language on the field as well as some racial slurs). In other words, this may or may not be one to watch with your kids, but it is absolutely inspiring.
The role of Branch Rickey was originally supposed to be Robert Redford, but I thought Harrison Ford did a phenomenal job (as did Chadwick Boseman).
OH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: Ol’ Harrison isn’t the young buck he used to be. Now I could be wrong, but it appears he is the first Star Wars cast member to have more hair growing out of his ears than Chewbacca.
So the moral of this movie is much more than just “don’t be racist.” It goes much deeper. It’s about a man who exercised self-control in the face of relentless and undeserved hatred.
Jackie: You want a player who doesn’t have the guts to fight back?
Branch: No. I want a player who’s got the guts NOT to fight back.
While most of us may never face the same kind of persecution endured by Jackie Robinson, there will always be those who try to intimidate us into backing down from doing the right thing. Consider the words of Thomas Monson:
“Of course, we will face fear, experience ridicule, and meet opposition. Let us have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle. Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval. Courage becomes a living and an attractive virtue when it is regarded not only as a willingness to die manfully, but also as a determination to live decently.”
But when people are spewing just plain, old-fashioned hatred in our face, how do we respond “courageously” without punching them in the nose?
The truth is, every encounter requires a different response. Jesus Christ himself responded differently in every situation (see examples 1, 2, and 3). And as disciples of Christ, we ought to do the same, trusting the Holy Spirit to guide our response, whether it be spoken or unspoken. In any case, “true disciples respond in ways that invite the Spirit of the Lord… Meekness is not weakness.”
Our motive should always be to help our persecutors understand us, not to make them look stupid or to win personal vindication. We cannot allow ourselves to be baited into giving up the high ground of mutual love and respect.
Ultimately, Jackie Robinson did have “the guts.” Will others be able to say the same about us after we’re gone?
“Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” – Matthew 5:39