Mederson Ali presentation

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Mederson Ali presentation

  1. 1. “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Vietcong” Newspaper Sports Coverage of Muhammad Ali During the Tumult Between 1960 and 1971 Communications Crossroads 2013
  2. 2. April 28, 1967 • The front-page above-the-fold headline in the New York Times read: Clay Guilty in Draft Case; Gets Five Years in Prison. • Ali spent over three years exiled from boxing while he awaited the results of an appeal of his conviction – an appeal that would eventually make it all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States.
  3. 3. 1996 Olympics – Atlanta
  4. 4. Rome Olympics - 1960 • “exuberant living” • “‟We felt,‟ said an official, „that some of the girls were putting more effort into the dance floor than they were on the field, so we asked them to tone it down.‟” • “Champ Boxer Proves a Champ Ambassador.” • “taken over from United States girls jitterbuggers as Uncle Sam‟s unofficial goodwill ambassador to the 1960 Olympic Games.”
  5. 5. Cassius Marcellus Clay - 1960
  6. 6. 1961 – Clay Turns Pro •“Man with a Future” • “This good-looking boy is a charmer and is so natural that even his more extravagant statements sound like exuberance instead of braggadocio.” “On him they look good.” • “Here is a refreshing and highly personable young man.” Arthur Daley, The New York Times, May 14, 1961
  7. 7. George Raymond Wagner - 1961 “You got your good looks, a great body, and a lot of people will pay to see somebody shut your mouth.” Wagner said, “so keep on bragging, keep on sassing, and always be outrageous.”
  8. 8. Muhammad Ali - 1964
  9. 9. Robert Lipsyte – The New York Times Joe Louis “Most of the reporters were much older. Their ideal sports figure, particularly a boxer, to cover was Joe Louis.” “[Louis] was in [the reporters] sense the, quote, „grateful negro.‟ Cassius Clay had no such attitude. He was breezy and sometimes disdainful. This was offensive to these reporters.”
  10. 10. Clay‟s Fighting Style
  11. 11. Sports Columnists Dick Young Arthur Daley Jim Murray Red Smith
  12. 12. Arthur Daley“This good-looking boy is a charmer” (in the sports feature titled “Man With a Future”). 1961 “slightly immodest” and “likeable.” 9/62 “…his boasting now begins to irritate. He certainly won few friends in his post-fight „I‟m the greatest‟ proclamations.” 11/62 “Clay is lousing up his public relations by his boasting and it‟s high time he eased off and let his fists serve as spokesman.” 7/63 “an overrated extrovert” adding that the “Louisville Lip talks too much.”
  13. 13. Cassius Clay vs. Sonny Liston “At least, this will be the first chance we have to find out if Clay talks even in his sleep. The only real question is whether Liston will bury the bones in the backyard when he‟s through with him.” Jim Murray - Los Angeles Times, August 5, 1963 “Only three of 46 sportswriters covering the fight had picked [Clay] to win before the fight.” Robert Lipsyte
  14. 14. It must have been a fix “Most Viewers Decline To Believe It Was Real.” “synthetic victory” “fiasco”
  15. 15. The Question “Are you a card carrying member of the black muslims? (sic)” “I don‟t have to be what you want me to be, I‟m free to be who I want.”
  16. 16. “I shook up the world” • Affirmed his conversion from Christian to Muslim. • Pronounced his agreement with the Nation of Islam‟s belief in racial segregation. • Accepted his new name, Muhammad Ali, from Elijah Muhammad, the controversial head of the Nation of Islam. Ali with Malcom X four days after beating Liston
  17. 17. Ali and the Army • Ali had, for the second time, failed the military intelligence test meaning that he was ineligible for the draft.
  18. 18. Jim Murray My favorite Mohammedan, Abdul the Bull Bull Ameer, or Ivan Skavinsky Skivar, or whatever the name is on his mailbox this morning, had a narrow escape the other day. I don‟t mean he almost lost his heavyweight championship, I mean he almost passed an intelligence test. He was trying his level best. That was the trouble. Old Abdul‟s problem is, he can‟t figure out how many apples you have left if you take a third of them away. He‟s only good at simple problems – like what is good for a whole race of people, or the whole world, for that matter.
  19. 19. Clay or Ali • Most of the writers would refer to Ali as Cassius Clay for many years to come, or in the case of Murray, “Cassius Marcellus Abdualh Skivinsky Skavar,” in his column five years after the name change. • According to author Thomas Hauser, “Black Muslims is a press word. It‟s not a legitimate name.” • “The only time there was real pushback was after he announced that he was Muhammad Ali and I started to refer to him as Muhammad Ali in stories. Not the sports editor but the top editor of the paper.” • “My point was, we didn‟t make a big fuss about calling John Wayne, or Rock Hudson, or Cary Grant by their legal names, why are we making such a fuss about this guy.”
  20. 20. The Phantom Punch
  21. 21. Dick Young “chances are you‟ve hit your wife harder.” “we might as well let the Russians win.”
  22. 22. The Quote • “…out of nowhere, a red television truck from one of the local stations pulled up and told him that his draft status had been changed.” (he was now draft eligible) • “Finally after the tenth call [asking] – „What do you think about the Vietcong? – Ali exploded. „Man, I ain‟t got no quarrel with them Vietcong.‟” • “And bang. There it was. That was the headline. That was what the media wanted.”
  23. 23. No Holding Back • “unwashed punks who picket and demonstrate against the war.” • “Cassius…cannot compare to some of the kids slogging through the rice paddies.” • “For his stomach-turning performance, boxing should throw Clay out on his inflated head.”
  24. 24. Jimmy Cannon Jimmy Cannon, New York Journal American, February 22, 1966 Clay…fits in with the famous singers no one can hear and the punks riding motorcycles with iron crosses pinned to their leather jackets and Batman and the boys with their long dirty hair and the girls with the unwashed look and the college kids dancing naked at secret proms held in apartments and the revolt of students who get a check from dad every first of the month and the painters who copy labels off of soup cans and the surf bums who refuse to work and the whole pampered style-making cult of the bored young.
  25. 25. The Induction “How unlike Clay‟s behavior was Joe Louis‟ when that great guy was the champion during another national scuffle. Louis served his four years for Uncle Sam without any kind of protest or whimper and was a credit to boxing and his people at all times.” “He never popped off as to his greatness or tried to predict when he would flatten an opponent. It‟s Clay who does all the talking along those lines. A lot of people… would like to see him prove it, with a rifle in his hands.” Johnny Janes, San Antonio Express News, January 13, 1967
  26. 26. Exiled Fighter
  27. 27. Lipsyte and the final word

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