WASHINGTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — President Donald Trump says he may pardon another late heavyweight boxing champion — this time, Muhammad Ali.
Trump tells reporters he’s looking at “thousands of names” of people who could be granted clemency.
Trump’s already granted a posthumous pardon to boxing’s first black heavyweight champion, Jack Johnson — convicted of violating a law that made it illegal to transport women across state lines for “immoral” purposes.
Ali refused to enter the military during the Vietnam War, declaring himself a conscientious objector.
It was in Texas, in 1967, where Muhammad Ali made headlines for refusing to be drafted into the U.S. Army. Claiming that his status as a Muslim minister and a conscientious objector made him exempt, Ali refused to enlist and fight in the war in Vietnam.
Ali was arrested at the Armed Forces Examining and Entrance Station in Houston, went on trial and was convicted of draft evasion. When asked why he made the decision not to join the armed services he said, “No, I am not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end.”
The fighter was also stripped of his heavyweight boxing crown. Ali’s legal fight ended in 1971, when the Supreme Court ruled in his favor and in 1977 then President Jimmy Carter granted a blanket pardon to all draft evaders.
After a long battle with Parkinson’s disease Muhammad Ali died in 2016. He was 74 years old.
Earlier this week, Trump commuted the life sentence of a woman whose cause was championed by Kim Kardashian West.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)