Mike Tyson enters ring with top senators
April 4th, 2013
03:41 PM ET
10 years ago

Mike Tyson enters ring with top senators

(CNN) - Mike Tyson is putting his weight behind the effort to pardon late boxer Jack Johnson.

His heavyweight political punch, that is.

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The boxer is rubbing shoulders with influential U.S. senators in the effort to pardon Johnson, the first African-American world heavyweight boxing champion whose record was marred by his 1913 conviction for transporting a woman across a state line for "immoral" purposes. The woman was white; Johnson was black. They later married.

On Thursday, Sen. John McCain tweeted his support for a petition on the site Change.org started by Tyson. McCain has for years led an effort to obtain the rare posthumous pardon.

"This unjust prosecution ultimately tarnished Jack Johnson's legacy," the petition reads. "Senator Harry Reid and Senator John McCain have taken up this issue and are working towards a pardon. Let's show President Obama and the White House that we too care about Jack Johnson's legacy by signing this petition. In doing so, we are also righting the legacy of our great country."

Reid met with Tyson on Monday and said the cause was an example of "One great boxer standing up for another."

Tyson wrote that Reid, a former boxer himself, "is quite the boxing historian. An all around great person."

- CNN's Gregory Wallace contributed to this report

Filed under: Harry Reid • John McCain
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Stonethecrow

    Now here's a piece of legislation we really need to spend time on. Gun control, go to the back burner. Threats from North Korea, go to the other back burner. The homeless, sick, hungry, go to the back burner. We need to bring a mans past to light, and exonerate him of crimes, either imagined or real. The rest of the world can burn. Lets spin out wheels as much as possible.

    April 4, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. just sayin

    My friend @SenatorReid has had an amazing journey from Washington to the White House. Read his memoir it's compelling and funny.

    right.... tyson wrote this?! first, he can't read, second he doesn't know what the word compelling means, third there is not a single grammatical error. scam alert.

    April 4, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. Wake up People!

    It's about TIME!!

    Between Jack Johnson, Emmett Till, and what happened in Rosewood, it's enough to make all black mothers to tell their sons to stick with their own kind. These incidents may have happened long ago but they are still happening today. Remember that janitor at the all white school in TX that was just days away from be executed for a crime he didn't even commit?

    April 4, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  4. just askin

    since when did us senators line up to be seen with a convicted women abuser and rapist? wake the hell up harry.

    April 4, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Hey, Mike. That line up on your mustache makes it look like you're leaking oil.

    April 4, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    just askin

    since when did us senators line up to be seen with a convicted women abuser and rapist? wake the hell up harry.
    He may have been convicted, but the accuser's story is highly suspect. During the rape trial, the judge specifically asked the accuser if she had a book, movie or some other media deal in the works involving the case. She said no. The day Tyson was convicted, she walked out of the court in front of cameras announced that she already had a deal, had signed weeks ago.

    The judge later prohibited her from profiting from telling her story. That's what they do to convicts writing about their crimes.

    April 4, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  7. BLKmanWHOvotes

    OK, really? As if anyone in the Senate are really going to do anything close to this..................HEY Mike they don't care.

    April 4, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |