PUGILISM

McCain Seeks Pardon for Boxer

Just because John McCain isn’t president doesn’t mean he can’t seek pardons: The Arizona senator is lobbying for a pardon for the late boxer Jack Johnson. In 1908 Johnson, also known as the "Galveseton Giant," was the first African American boxing heavyweight champion of the world. Not surprisingly, his dominance in the squared circle made him public enemy number one in the minds of racists all over the nation. In 1913 Johnson was unjustly convicted of "transporting women across state lines for immoral purposes" because his girlfriend was white. As Ken Burns put it in his documentary Unforgivable Blackness, Johnson's enemies "failed to beat him in the ring, (so) his enemies took him to court." Burns has joined McCain and Representative Peter King in pushing in pushing for the pardon that would right "a grave injustice."