As the people of the United States of America raise their voices against the evils of racial discrimination in wake of the brutal death od George Floyd, there is one voice that everyone feels would be largely impactful in today’s times. Muhammad Ali.
The Heavyweight Legend’s Twitter account posted a quote from his wife, Lonnie Ali.
She said, “As I’ve watched events unfold in real-time over the past week, people have reached out to me with the same basic message, ‘If ever there were a time we needed Muhammad’s voice to be heard, it’s now’.”
In addition to being a master of the sweet science, Ali became an iconic figure due to his proactivity regarding standing for his beliefs. People looked up to him for encouragement as he battled the system to bring the atrocities of racism among many other issues to light.
Muhammad Ali became “The Greatest” in the truest sense of the phrase due to the life he lived. In addition to being a swift, strong Heavyweight, Ali also played a role model for many.
An example of such a time is the case of being a conscientious objector. When the military summoned him for mandatory duty, Ali showed up at the recruitment office. However, he did not step forward when the officer-in-charge called out his name. Even though the officer explained that he could face 5 years in prison as refusing duties is a punishable offense, Ali did not come forward. Later, he would explain,
“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home? And drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?”
The move made the Athletic Commissions across all states suspend Ali’s boxing license. Nevertheless, Ali carried on delivering the message of equality and freedom.
He went to many educational institutions to deliver speeches. In a time of a surging movement, Ali became the voice of countless people. While it was rare for any boxer or sports elite to do so, Ali’s activism moved crowds considerably.
Thus, he is not only the best Heavyweight boxer of the 20th century. But also the most iconic sports figure to emerge out of the depths of racial despair.
And today, as people look to promote equality, they reminisce about the role that Ali played. As Lonnie Ali said, these are times that the Champion rose against. Even though he is not present today, his words will continue to inspire people to battle evils like racism.