By Nikki Schwab, Washington Whispers
We already knew Sen. John McCain was a big sports fan—he's even taken the time to twitter about his beloved NFL team, the Arizona Cardinals, and his tanking March Madness men's basketball bracket. But the Republican senator and former presidential candidate is also a big boxing buff, which is why he and Rep. Peter King, with the support of filmmaker Ken Burns, reintroduced a resolution today that would encourage a presidential pardon for legendary black boxer Jack Johnson. Johnson became the first African-American world heavyweight boxing champion in 1908 but got in trouble with the law when he took his white girlfriend over state lines, for which he was charged with violating the Mann Act, a statute to curb prostitution.
"We need to erase this act of racism that sent an American citizen to prison on a trumped-up charge because of a resentment that existed because he happened to be a world champion heavyweight boxer and the first African-American to achieve this status," McCain says. McCain and King have been introducing and reintroducing this resolution since 2004, but with no luck. McCain says it wasn't President Bush that was the problem, it was instead bureaucracy. And he had another excuse, too: "I got involved in some other pursuits," McCain says with a smile.
Filmmaker Ken Burns, Johnson's great niece Linda Haywood, Rep. Peter King and Sen. John McCain.
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