J.A.B. Calls on President to Pardon Jack Johnson

15.01.05 - On behalf of the members of the Joint Association of Boxers (JAB) and in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, JAB calls upon President George W. Bush to grant former heavyweight champion of the world, Jack Johnson, a full pardon. As the first African American heavyweight champion of the world, Johnson has earned the respect of fighters and fans alike for his courage and conviction both in and outside the ring..

During the height of Johnson's career he was convicted under the Mann Act for transporting a white woman across state lines. Although the arbitrary nature of his conviction is well documented in history, his conviction has served to push his legacy to near obscurity.

"Johnson has never received proper credit for his achievements as a boxing icon and the first African American athlete to breakthrough the color barrier," said Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, President of JAB. "He claimed the title in 1908 that's almost 40 years before Jackie Robinson broke into major league baseball, yet he has never been recognized."

JAB was formed to provide professional boxers with the respect and dignity they deserve and is speaking on Johnson's behalf for those same reasons. JAB is affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

"Through his courage, Jack Johnson shaped both the sport of boxing as well as our nation," said Jim Hoffa, General President of the Teamsters. "Although the injustices of the past can never be undone, they can be acknowledged. The President has a unique opportunity to show the world how far we have progressed as a nation. I urge President Bush to issue this pardon so Jack Johnson can take his rightful place in history as a legendary fighter and American hero."

The Joint Association of Boxers (J.A.B.) is a union for the physical and financial protection of professional boxers.

Article posted on 15.01.2005

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