In a move that was long rumored and now official, Donald Trump posthumously pardoned former heavyweight champion Jack Johnson. The credit for the pardon is being given to actor Sylvester Stallone.
Johnson was the popular but controversial first Black heavyweight world champion that was wrongfully convicted more than 100 years ago of violating the Mann Act by transporting a white woman across state lines. The conviction was based solely on the fear of a prevalent image of black superiority through Johnson’s definitive wins, wealth and outrage over his dating and marrying white women.
Trump grants posthumous pardon
Boxer Jack Johnson is posthumous pardoned by President Trump. Subscribe to The Washington Post on YouTube: http://bit.ly/2qiJ4dy Follow us: Twitter: https://twitter.com/washingtonpost Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/washingtonpost/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/washingtonpost/
There has long been a push for Jack Johnson’s pardon, which was renewed and reborn in 2005 after the airing of Ken Burns’ exceptional documentary, Unforgivable Blackness.
According to Trump, it was an appeal by Stallone himself that swayed him to make the full pardon.
Trump tweeted back in April:
“Sylvester Stallone called me with the story of heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson. His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial. Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!”
Trump made that happen and today, Stallone, along with former and current heavyweight boxing champions Lennox Lewis and Deontay Wilder, took a picture in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the pardon.
One has to wonder if Deontay Wilder and Lennox Lewis didn’t realize that the Golden State Warriors didn’t meet with number 45? Were they not briefed that several Eagles players will skip their planned June 5th visit. Vocal Eagles players such as safety Malcolm Jenkins, wide receiver Torrey Smith (now with the Panthers), and defensive end Chris Longall said to various news sources that they did not plan on attending.
Thank you one and all! Justice has been done! Keep punching
39.8k Likes, 812 Comments – Sly Stallone (@officialslystallone) on Instagram: “Thank you one and all! Justice has been done! Keep punching”
However, Trump‘s stance on racial conflicts, the abuse of power by police, and the systemic racism that created the chaos in Charlottesville, VA echoes in his stance on football players kneeling for the national anthem.
The smell of placating communities of color is faintly wafting through this gesture for some and overtly for others. We need to collectively ask if this is an attempt to pander to an audience he still has no idea how to communicate with unless their name is Kanye West.