69 million page views

A few comments on your article, just a few...

Reader comment on item: Muhammad Ali's "Beautiful Soul"

Submitted by Clay Landon (United States), Dec 26, 2005 at 01:19

Daniel,

Where is the evidence--yours, that is--that Ali had his "handlers" contact the Pearl family? Who are Ali's handlers, anyway? I ask because from your statements, it sounds like you would know.

It's a too time consuming to address all of your specious if not entirely spacey opinions on Ali but I promise, I won't make "hostile, libelous, or otherwise objectionable statements"....

1) Ali's "betrayal" of Malcolm X was no such thing. He made a choice to follow Elijah Muhammad. Your statement that his choice led indirectly to Malcolm's assassination is like saying my voting against George W. Bush indirectly leads to the death of American soldiers in Iraq. Actually, I don't want to give you any ideas here so let's move along....

2) Ali has said several times that he regretted the way he treated Joe Frazier leading up to the Manilla fight. Want to know when he did it the first time? Right after the fight. He cleared the locker room of reporters and handlers except for his trainer and medical staff because he wanted to speak with Frazier's son, Marvis. Ali told Marvis to tell his father he was sorry for what he said, further stating that Frazier was a great fighter and a great man. Marvis went back to his father's locker room, relayed the apology and Joe Frazier said, "He didn't say it to my face." Ali has since expressed his contrition several times, going so far as to say "Frazier was the roughest and toughest" fighter he ever faced, adding, "I'm sorry Joe's still mad at me for the things I said but if God ever calls me to a holy war, I want Joe Frazier on my side."

3. One of the "abandoned" children of Ali you speak of was his daughter, Miryam. She said that even though he was rarely home because of his career, he was a wonderful father when present and is a deeply caring father now. She told me this herself but if you have a better source, let me know. Perhaps you've spoken to some of his handlers?

4. Ali beat Floyd Patterson in their only fight and afterward called him the most skilled boxer he ever fought, an opinion he happily shared years afterward. At the Terrel pre-fight weigh-in, Terrel said to Ali, "get out of the way, Clay", perhaps knowing all too well that it would incite Ali. You're right to point out that Ali's performance in the Terrel fight--purposefully backing off an obviously beaten fighter so as to inflict more punishment--was wrong and he paid the price publicly. I suppose it would be superfluous to point out that Terrel and Ali have been in touch a few times since then and have treated each other amicably?

5. Sonji Ali was publicly humiliated? Belinda, too? ... These are two very strong women. I would argue that Belinda had far more reason to feel humiliated than Sonji but Belinda's response was not that of a humiliated woman. She went right after Ali, flying sixteen hours from America to the Phillipines to let him know in no uncertain terms how she felt. This was a rightfully angry woman fully capable of taking care of herself. Ali was cheating on his wife. ...

6. "Ali remained an unabashed racist, calling for an American apartheid and the lynching of interracial couples as late as 1975." Evidence, please.

7. "In the years that mattered, Ali drove a wedge between the races. This may not have been evident to the cultural elite, but anyone who had been at Gary or like venues would know exactly what I mean." No, we really wouldn't. And I don't speak as one of the cultural elites, whoever the heck that may be. Not to be repetitive, but could you possibly be more specfic?

8. "He routinely denigrated black heroes who did not share his point of view, Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson, and Thurgood Marshall among them." As evidenced by... I mean, I know about Joe Louis who, while battling a cocaine addiction, decided to denounce then-Cassius Clay and help train Sonny Liston. Still, some evidence to back up your claim would help.

9. "Ali helped launch the career of Don King." Uh, no. Don King did more to help the career of Don King than any human being on the planet. Don King is many things: charismatic, verbose, entertaining and almost completely amoral but one thing he is definitely not is dependend on anyone for anything. It's the code he lives by.

10. "And, oh yes, he rejected his country in its hour of need and expressed no regret at the fate of those millions we all abandoned. The man who compelled him to do so had conspired with the Japanese and cheered them on at Pearl Harbor." An almost completely inscrutable sentence that does, I think, get to the crux of the problem you have with Ali. Yes, Muhammad Ali exercised his religious beliefs and did not serve in Vietnam. He was exercising a constitutional right that would be validated by a unanimous Supreme Court decision three years later. In the meantime, he had his livelihood taken away. I fail to see why you have such a problem with this unless you believe that every able-bodied man should've been fighting in Vietnam. It makes it a mite curious why some on right are all too willing in this day and age to excoriate those who actually served (Murtha and Kerry, to name just two) and curiouser still why they aren't themselves serving in Iraq right now (by the way, are able?) but who says the right needs to be consistent in their opinions, much less make sense?

Muhammad Ali is a remarkable human being and if I could, I would put emphasis on the word "human." In other words, he is not and has not been perfect. For every negative thing you can find about Ali--even those you've given not-too-great an effort to construct--there are dozens if not hundreds of deeds performed by him that are extraordinary in their charity and love. Your flippant disregard for his obviously sincere effort to help Judea Pearl is indicative of the tone of both of your recent articles on Ali--careless, malevelont, factually-challenged and seemingly proud of it.
Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

This reader seems not to have noted that, with the exception of the first question, they all deal with statements I only quoted, but did not write. He and others interested in more information should read the Cashill book from which this summary comes.

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to A few comments on your article, just a few... by Clay Landon

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List
eXTReMe Tracker

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2020 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)