You are a brave man. Not only did you fight at least 61 of the roughest, toughest fighters from around the world, but even while everyone EVERYONE hated you, for your stand against the Vietnam War, your conversion to a Sunni, then Sufi Muslim, the stripping of your heavyweight Title, your changing of your name from Cassius Clay, your declaration of being a conscientious objector, draft evasion charges and even your being sentenced to 5 years prison time, you stood tall.
You didn’t let them beat you.
You are a hero to many, not because you are a great athelete, but because you are a person of conviction. You stood your ground and after you were released from prision and the courts, you fought back even stronger and regained all the pride and recognition they tried to strip from you.
But they could not crush your spirit. They could not hold you back.
Some of us knew that, when in the musical, Claude is given a joint laced with psychedelic and has a vision and he hears “I ain’t dying for no white man”…we all knew who the vision was talking about.
You not only challenged the white establishment, but the Man, the Establishment that cursed to bring you down.
You got too strong and you scared them. Sound familiar?
You are an athelete, one who spoke of a world outside the boxing spotlights. And we didn’t know how to take it and today…they sing your praises on Corporate News, Channel by Channel and they forget what they called you, what they muttered under their hate breath.
What was written was forgotten:
“There has never been an athlete more reviled by the mainstream press, more persecuted by the U.S. government or more defiantly beloved throughout the world than Muhammad Ali. There is now barely a mention of this Ali, who was the catalyst for bringing the issues of racism and war into professional sports.
The mere thought of athletes using their insanely exalted and hyper-commercialized platform to take stands against injustice is now almost unthinkable. Such actions would break the golden rule of big-time sports–”jocks” are not to be political, except when it comes to saluting the flag, supporting the troops and selling war.”
Without you, we may never have seen 2 black men at the Olympics standing proud to receive their Medals with their arms raised and clenched fists in black gloves.
Brave man Sir…RIP …no…where ever you go…Keep fighting Dude!