In 1967 Muhammad Ali was stripped of his title due standing for something he believed. He refused to be drafted into the army and sent to Vietnam claiming before the world “No Vietcong ever called me nigger”. In addition his boxing license was suspended by the state of New York. He was convicted of draft evasion on June 20 and sentenced to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
At the time many Americans (both white and black) disagreed with Ali. Fifty one years we look back and say not only how courageous he was, but how right he was for standing for what he believed, and for using his global platform to bring attention to social injustice.
Sadly today we’re watching the NFL and some Americans attempt to do the same thing to Colin Kaepernick. I’m happy that Nike has decided to stand with Colin as he continues to take a knee. And in doing so is engaging in marketing that matters.
Most of us don’t have to risk sacrificing everything to bring attention to a worthy cause. But it’s worth keeping in mind that if you won’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.
Indeed we are judged by the company we keep and Conlin’s keeping great company with Muhammad Ali, Tommie Smith, John Carlos, Peter Norman, and Billie Jean King to name just a few athletes who’ve risked it all to stand on ideas that matter.