Column: Jack Johnson’s biggest crime was being Black

first_imgFILE – In this 1932 file photo, boxer Jack Johnson, the first black world heavyweight champion, poses in New York City. Black athletes have been finding a way to fight for social change for more than 100 years, from Jack Johnson, to Muhammad Ali to Kaepernick. (AP Photo/File) Jack Johnson’s biggest crime was being an unrepentant Black man who beat up White men for a living.High-flying and flamboyant, he refused to live by the unwritten rules of American society in the early 1900s. That made him a target, and that eventually cost him his freedom after being convicted of squiring a White woman — his girlfriend at the time — across state lines.Now Johnson’s name has been cleared, thanks to an actor who famously portrayed a fighter and a president who has an affinity for the Sweet Science himself.Unfortunately, it took way too long to get it done.Years of work by Sen. John McCain and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had failed to convince previous presidents to do the right thing and pardon the former heavyweight champion.But when Rocky — aka Sylvester Stallone — came calling at the White House, an unjust conviction was quickly wiped away.More importantly, perhaps, a family’s pride was restored.“I did not realize and know he was my uncle until I was 12 years old because of the shame that the family carried, and most of them took it to their graves,” said Linda E. Haywood, Johnson’s great-great niece. “By this pardon being issued, that would help to rewrite history, and erase the shame and the humiliation that my family felt for my uncle, a great hero, being in prison unjustly.”President Donald Trump center, posthumous pardons Jack Johnson, boxing’s first black heavyweight champion, during an event in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 24, 2018. Trump is joined by, from left, Linda Haywood, who is Johnson’s great-great niece, heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, Keith Frankel, Sylvester Stallone, former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, and World Boxing Council President Mauricio Sulaiman Saldivar. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)Stallone was the one who got President Donald Trump’s ear and convinced him to pardon Johnson. He was joined at the White House ceremony Thursday by former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis and current champ Deontay Wilder, who talked a little boxing with the president.For Wilder it was a chance to celebrate a wrong finally being made right.“I don’t think people know the significance behind this,” he said. “Of course it’s 90 years or so too late, but it happened. It was an amazing moment to be there.”The story of Johnson is as much a story of the times as it is about his work as a boxer. Shunned by white champions who refused to fight him, he traveled to Australia in 1908 to beat Tommy Burns and become the first Black heavyweight champion.He defended the title easily against a series of so-called “Great White Hopes,” leading to an outcry among Whites to find someone who could win the title back. Finally, former champion Jim Jeffries agreed to come out of retirement to take Johnson on in 1910 in what was a scheduled 45-round fight in Reno, Nev.It was dubbed the Fight of the Century and the hype lived up to the billing. A temporary arena was built in downtown Reno, special trains were commissioned to bring fans into town, and 18,000 people packed the stands with another 2,000 paying $5 for the right to stand outside.“If the Black wins,” author Jack London wrote, “it may be the last act of his life.”Under a blazing sun on July 4 in the most eagerly anticipated fight ever, it was no contest. Johnson dominated the fight, breaking Jeffries’ nose and blackening his eyes. After Johnson knocked him down in the 15th round, Jeffries’ corner threw in the towel.“John Arthur Johnson, a Texas Negro, the son of an American slave, tonight is the heavyweight champion of the world,” The Associated Press reported.There was violence across the nation that night as angry whites clashed with fearful Blacks. A mob of 200 Whites chased blacks off the sidewalks in Washington, and in Clarksburg, West Virginia, Whites were so upset about the triumphant shouting of Blacks that they formed a 1,000-man posse to chase all Blacks off the streets, including one who was led about with a rope around his neck.Johnson wouldn’t fight for another two years and, soon afterward, was arrested on trumped-up charges of violating the Mann Act by transporting women across state lines for immoral purposes, which got him a year’s prison sentence.It hardly mattered that outside the ring, Johnson was a man of culture who played music on his Renaissance-era viol — a type of violin — was conversant in several languages and often read novels in French.The color of his skin determined how he was treated.“He had swagger, gold teeth, spoke his piece and had three wives, all White women,” Wilder said. “Back in those times you didn’t do that. But he did as he wanted, and did as he pleased.”Wilder says he understands the irony of Johnson — who died in a 1946 car crash — being pardoned by a president who some have called racist himself. But he believes Trump’s motives were genuine, and he’s genuinely happy for Haywood and other descendants of Johnson.“My people have been through so much through the years but we’ve always been strong people,” Wilder said. “I’m just glad it’s done. It might not benefit him but his family is overwhelmed by it.”____Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at or read more

Ex-USC coach Tony Bland pleads guilty in corruption case

first_imgNEW YORK (AP) — Former University of Southern California assistant basketball coach Tony Bland has pleaded guilty in a criminal case in which prosecutors said bribes were paid to steer top athletes to certain schools.Bland pleaded guilty on Wednesday in Manhattan federal court to a single count of conspiracy to commit bribery.He was among four assistant coaches charged in the September 2017 crackdown on college basketball recruiting corruption.Prosecutors say the coaches teamed up with a top Adidas executive and others to trade hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to influence star athletes’ choice of schools, shoe sponsors, agents and even tailors.Bland had been scheduled to go to trial in April. USC assistant coach Tony Bland yells out instructions during an NCAA basketball game between the Stanford Cardinal and the USC Trojans on January 5, 2017, at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)last_img read more

Alves sends a message to Guardiola… And another to Barça

first_img 12/07/2017 Alves envía un mensaje a Guardiola… Y otro al Barça Dani Alves did not openly confirm that he had the option of signing for Manchester City but his comments on his presentation at PSG implied that the Eastlands club was his most likely destination after leaving Juventus. CEST Frederic Martin IN SPORT.ES His actions in the past few weeks, in playing both sides against each other, did not seem to bother Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, president of PSG, who smiled throughout the press conference and declared himself happy with the signing. “If Guardiola and Manchester City feel hurt by my decision, I am sorry. But I have come here to be a champion.” Why did he pick Paris over Manchester? “I have friends here and my wife loves the city. I was a bit selfish when I left Juventus. This time I tried to be less so and to please everyone, that’s why I decided to come here. If Pep feels hurt, I apologise.” Upd. at 19:04 last_img read more

Hit and run witnesses

first_imgPOLICE are appealing for witnesses to a hit and run, which involved a cyclist and a car, in Berwick on…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

Mallard’s Team of the Week — Myron Nichol Rink

first_imgMallard’s Source for sports would like to add to the celebration by naming the rink Team of the Week.The rink now represents the zone at the BC Senior Men’s Championships February 17-22 in Port Alberni. The Myron Nichol rink of Castlegar took the longest way possible to capturing the Senior Men’s Kootenay Playdowns Sunday in Kimberley.The team of Nichol, third Bill Van Yzerloo and second Gary Beaudry and lead Barry Marsh, both of Nelson, defeated the Ken McHargue rink twice — in the B final and A-B final — to claim the title.last_img read more

Draw Announced For Last 32 Of FAI Junior Cup

first_imgThe ties for this next round of the competition will be played in the week ending January 14, 2018.2017/18 FAI New Balance Junior Cup – Last 32Ballymun United or Carrig Celtic v North End UnitedGrattan United v Coonagh UnitedDungarvan FC or Booth Road Celtic v Greencastle FCClonmel Celtic v Newmarket CelticBallinasloe Town v St Michael’s FCNenagh Celtic v Mervue UnitedRailway Union or Ferrybank FC v Rathmullan FC or Innisvilla FCPike Rovers v Regional UnitedEvergreen FC or Kilnamanagh v Castlefin CelticGalbally FC v Usher CelticShannon Town v Oliver Bond CelticCappry Rovers v Moyne RangersTolka Rovers v Clonmel TownWillow Park FC v Killarney CelticKnocknaheeny Celtic v Newfoundwell FCAyrfield United v Carrick United or Straide & Foxford The draw for the last 32 of the FAI Junior Cup has been made and Mervue United have been drawn away to Nenagh Celtic of the North Tipperary and District League with the game to be played on the 14th of January. The draw for Corrib Celtic not in yet as they play Ayrefield this Sunday in Dublin at 2pm. print WhatsApp Facebook Twitter Emailcenter_img Ballinasloe Town, the remaining Roscommon and District league side in the competition have been drawn at home to St Michaels FC of the Tipperary Southern And District League.last_img read more

BT Vision YouView box Sky Movies is to be made ava

first_imgBT Vision YouView boxSky Movies is to be made available to BT TV subscribers as a result of a multi-year contract between BT and BSkyB.BT will offer Sky Movies for a monthly add-on subscription to their existing BT TV package from October 26.The service will be available to both YouView customers and BT TV customers with the latest version of the Vision+ box. BT subscribers will be able to access 11 Sky Movies channels in standard definition. BT Infinity fibre homes will be able to access both streamed live channels and on-demand services, while customers with non-fibre BT Broadband will only be able to access the service on-demand.The agreement includes Sky Movies Premiere, Sky Movies Showcase, Sky Movies Greats, Sky Movies Disney, Sky Movies Family, Sky Movies Action & Adventure, Sky Movies Comedy, Sky Movies Crime & Thriller, Sky Movies Drama & Romance, Sky Movies Sci Fi & Horror and Sky Movies Select.We are pleased to extend the distribution of Sky Movies to BT TV customers.  Following the conclusion of commercial negotiations, BT’s customers can now enjoy access to the UK’s most popular subscription movies service.  In helping even more UK homes enjoy Sky Movies this agreement also supports our wholesale content business,” said Rob Webster, director of Sky’s commercial group.last_img read more

AE Networks has appointed 20th Century Foxs Euro

first_imgA+E Networks has appointed 20th Century Fox’s European vice-president of sales for its TV distribution group, Denis Cantin, as VP and head of content sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).Cantin, who is due to take up his new role in the first quarter of 2014, will manage A+E Networks’ London-based EMEA content sales team, overseeing sales of A+E Networks’ catalogue throughout the region.He will report into Marielle Zuccarelli, managing director, international content distribution and Dean Possenniskie, managing director, Europe.“Denis has a solid track record of building successful partnerships with key broadcasters in the EMEA territories.  We’re looking forward to working with him, and continuing to deliver top-quality content to our clients,” said Possenniskie, commenting on the hire.last_img read more

Almost eight in ten legacy pay TV subscribers have

first_imgAlmost eight in ten legacy pay TV subscribers have access to authenticated TV everywhere services from most of the major US networks, according to The Diffusion Group (TDG). The research firm’s ‘TV everywhere deployment among top US operators and networks 2014’ report claims that 74 million homes in the US from the top 15 networks that TDG monitors now have access to TV everywhere programmes.“The reach of TV everywhere is finally where it needs to be. The next step is monetising the content in such a way that networks are comfortable distributing their best, most recent content online to authenticated viewers,” according to TDG senior analyst, Bill Niemeyer.The TDG report said there is still “significant work to be done” in relation to measurement and monetisation of TV everywhere to bring fully realised services to the market.last_img read more

Apple is reportedly in talks with content companie

first_imgApple is reportedly in talks with content companies about securing rights to launch its own OTT TV service and has shown programmers demos of the proposed service.According to US publication Re/code, citing unnamed industry executives, Apple is in talks that could see it create its own pay TV packages to sell direct to consumers with its own user interface.According to Re/code, talks are at an early stage, and some programmers have yet to enter talks with the consumer electronics giant.If true, the move would see a shift in direction for Apple, which has recently reportedly shown an interest in forming partnerships with pay TV operators rather than competing directly with them.Apple’s revived interest in OTT could have been spurred by the recent success of Dish Network in securing the cooperation of programmers to launch its own Sling Media-based OTT offering.last_img read more

Recent Posts