Mohammed Ali said Cassius Clay was his slave name. So he changed it much to the consternation of the general public. Ironically he was named after Cassius Marcellus Clay an active Abolitionist against slavery. So Mohammed was born to be political. It was in his name. He used his success and fame to be radical and dynamic. Nobody had ever seen anything like this before.
For any athlete at this time to stand up for a political cause was exceptional. For a black athlete it was unique. Nobody did it. Tommy Smith & John Carlos made a silent protest in 1968 at the Olympics in Mexico City. Both were expelled from the US Olympic team and sent home. 30 years later they were both honoured for furthering the Civil Rights movement in America.
But nobody worked and promoted black politics like Mohammed Ali. He was on a mission. Nothing would stop him. He put himself out there. At the real possibility of being shot he carried on in the name of God.
Wherever he went Mohammed Ali championed the Black People Cause. He wasn’t boxing. He wasn’t gaining publicity. He was fighting for the cause. All the Black leaders had been killed. He felt like he had to carry on the fight. He was a political black athlete in a time when athletes do not speak.
Sport and business are so interwoven in the global age. To be political is to risk upsetting corporations who sponsor athletes. It’s all about the money.
Globalisation stifles political radicalism. Money needs stability. Radicalism urges instability.
Cassius Clay could not be held back by profit.
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2016
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Disclaimer:This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only.
This article is designed to provoke argument and critique