April 1st, 2009
01:00 PM ET
13 years ago

McCain, King seek pardon for boxer

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/24/art.getty.mccain.smiling.jpg caption="McCain is trying to get a pardon for boxer Jack Johnson."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Arizona Sen. John McCain and New York Rep. Pete King are introducing a resolution on Wednesday that seeks to posthumously pardon Jack Johnson, the first African American heavyweight boxing champion.

Johnson was convicted for violating the Mann Act in 1913, which made it illegal to bring women across state lines for "immoral purposes." At the time, Johnson was in a relationship with a white woman and he spent a year in jail.

The Republican lawmakers will be joined by Johnson's great niece, Linda Haywood, at a press conference on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Blue is my favourite colour

    And that concludes John McCain's lesson on supporting diversity.
    Give me a break – John McCain's efforts in this are eye wash only. He not only does not value diversity, he has no morals either. Next......

    April 1, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  2. Kevin in Ohio

    A no-brainer. Surprised this wasnt thought of before.

    April 1, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  3. Tim E

    A posthumous pardon for McCain/Palin is a better idea. They took us all over state lines and what they did to us had to be immoral.

    April 1, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. Nate Hussein

    Finally, something I can agree with McCain on.

    April 1, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  5. Stephen Baker

    I would love for a great athlete and proud native of Galveston, Texas, to receive a long-overdue pardon for the "crime" of EWB ("Excelling While Black").

    April 1, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  6. JonDie

    Just like John McCain to sponsor an empty piece of legislation like this.

    Too little too late.

    Meanwhile many states continue to execute innocent persons because the death penalty is mainly about race, not about justice.

    April 1, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  7. dave

    Why now?

    April 1, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. Lue Blackwell

    McCain is doing this just for "show"-and anyone that think differently is fooling themselves-

    April 1, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  9. Ren from Baltimore

    It's high time someone takes this onus off of Hurricane Johnson. Who didn't think the pardon hadn't been done yet?

    All jokes about McCain having seen Hurricane fighting while they were both teenagers, hats off to the good Senator and the good Congressman.

    April 1, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  10. Nancy in Illinois

    Wow, quite a difference between this and what McCain would be doing had he won the election. Doesn't he have actual work he could be doing? This is really important, getting a pardon for a dead guy. Sorry Cindy, I know you wanted to be first lady, but I got a pardon for a dead guy! lol. Payback for picking Palin.

    April 1, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. tom white

    McCain was 47 when it happened.

    April 1, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  12. Doc

    I thought pandering was spelled McCain and King, but I might have been mistaken. Guess i was right. Had these two ever gave a s%#t about anything to remotely do with African-Americans before the slam of the 2008 elections, where the GOP garnered a whopping 5%? King wants to run for senate in NY and McCain is trying to boost his lost legacy. Yes, Johnson should have been pardoned many years ago, but coming from these two, both of whom voted against MLK day is a joke.
    Is McCain so needy for publicity that he has to so something EVERY day to be in a news cycle? There's senators that people never even hear about because they do their jobs, not everybody elses. And King...comb your hair like a grown man! This isn't the 80's anymore.

    April 1, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  13. what?

    After campaigning tirelessly against MLK day, McCain has suddenly grown an interest in the black community.
    Ok, whatever

    April 1, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  14. Free Thinker

    wow – thanks for doing the taxpayers such a great service – you two idiots!

    April 1, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  15. Maryann Rose

    That's so great that McCain is using his and congress' time wisely in this time of national strife.

    I'm so relieved that a dead boxer will be pardoned. Bet he's happy about it too.


    April 1, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  16. Curled up in a ball

    I still can't believe John McCain was against the new G.I. Bill for Veterans. I guess Washington brought out the worst in him.

    April 1, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  17. Dave NYC

    So I guess for the GOP, trying to win back African American support is more important than fixing our economy or catching bin laden?

    April 1, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  18. Gene

    A very heartwarming story.. but aren't there more important things to worry about than pardoning a guy almost 100 years after his incarceration? 🙂

    April 1, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  19. Objective Thinking

    How will McCain haters spin this one?

    April 1, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  20. MaryanneAZ

    While the sentiment is nice, this is hardly the way I want my Arizona Senator to spend his time on the Hill. There's work to do Senator, and this is not it. Vote in favor of President Obama's Budget for starters.

    April 1, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. Simmy

    This desperado will stop at nothing to gain attention for himself and his party at the expense of President Obama. If he gets the president to grant the pardon, he'll look like he cares about blacks. If he doesn't get the pardon, the president will look like the bad guy, even though Bush denied the request in the past. It's been over 100 years, why is McCain concerned about this now? He needs to find a hobby that will give him fulfillment when he loses his reelection bid. Transparent.

    April 1, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  22. Vegas Barbie the Paralegal for Obama

    Having just recently watched "Unforgivable Blackness: The Jack Johnson Story", I can say that I am glad that someone is seeking his posthumous pardon (a shame he had to go through that at all, Jack, that is), but McCain's involvement here raises my eyebrow. What does he have up his sleeve? My guess is this is some kind of token action meant to ingratiate himself to African Americans. As a caucasian woman and the wife of an African American man, I for one, think it just smells like a play for goodwill from the minority community, goodwill that he probably would not have lost in droves had he chosen a different running mate as his VP. By the end of the campaign, McCain/Palin rallies more closely resembled KKK rallies than they did political gatherings.

    April 1, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  23. freed_from_w

    Well, McCain would know a little something about philandering around with women, now wouldn't he?

    April 1, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  24. Rebekah A.

    Kudos Senator McCain...wish you hadn't run with wack Palin...Obama was gonna win anyway, but it would have been a closer vote!

    April 1, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  25. bern

    It is about time. I'm sure Jack Johnson will be pleased.

    Oh.....I forgot...Jack Johnson is dead. Once again here comes McCain with too little too late.

    April 1, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
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