'Jackie Robinson I Never Had It Made'を読んだ(3)

I Never Had It Made

 ハリソン・フォードがブランチ・リッキーを演じた映画「42」。映画では野球のことしか描かれていないが、Jackie Robinsonはその自伝'Jackie Robinson I Never Had It Made'で、野球界のこと、野球界引退後のビジネス世界でのこと、政治でのことと、3つの世界について触れている。
 白人の援助によって成功したに過ぎないのではないかとジャッキー・ロビンソンを批判する人間は、野球界では、ブランチ・リッキー(Branch Rickey)、ビジネス社会ではビル・ブラック(Bill Black)、政治ではネルソン・ロックフェラー(Nelson Rockefeller)という3人の白人のゴッドファーザー的存在を指摘するだろう。

 実際、野球界なら、「気高い実験」(noble experiment)としてブランチ・リッキーが黒人をMLBで採用することなしに、MLBでのジャッキー・ロビンソンの成功はなかった。その後のJackie Robinsonもありえなかっただろう。

 映画でも表現されていたように、黒人選手をMLBに迎い入れるという「気高い実験」(noble experiment)の動機と背景には、もちろん差別に批判的という人道主義もあったが、差別はビジネスの足かせになるという抜け目ない計算が含まれていた。しかし、そうであったとしても、差別に批判的なブランチ・リッキーの動機もそこには当然含まれていた。

In 1910 Branch Rickey was a coach for Ohio Wesleyan. The team went to South Bend, Indiana, for a game. The hotel management registered the coach and team but refused to assign a room to a black player named Charley Thomas. In those days college ball had a few black players. Mr. Rickey took the manager aside and said he would move the entire team to another hotel unless the black athlete was accepted. The threat was a bluff because he knew the other hotels also would have refused accommodations to a black man. While the hotel manager was thinking about the threat, Mr. Rickey came up with a compromise. He suggested a cot be put in his own room, which he would share with the unwanted guest. The hotel manager wasn't happy about the idea, but he gave in.
Years later Branch Rickey told the story of the misery of that black player to whom he had given a place to sleep. He remembered that Thomas couldn't sleep.
"He sat on that cot," Mr. Rickey said, "and was silent for a long time. Then he began to cry, tears he couldn't hold back. His whole body shook with emotion. I sat and watched him, not knowing what to do until he began tearing at one hand with the other---just as if he were trying to scratch the skin off his hands with his fingernails. I was alarmed. I asked him what he was trying to do to himself.
"It's my hands,' he sobbed, 'They're black. If only they were white, I'd be as good as anybody then, wouldn't I, Mr. Rickey? If only they were white.'"
"Charley," Mr. Rickey said, "the day will come when they won't have to be white.'"

("Jackie Robinson I Never Had It Made" p.26-p.27)