November 14, 2003

Just asking my favourite sports community (since this ain't front page type stuff and doesn't really fit into the whole raison d'etre for the locker room)....

I recently read an article about the legacy of Muhammad Ali and I have a bit of a question for any boxing fans... (inside)

posted by gspm to navel gazing at 10:23 AM - 27 comments

In that article there is the passage:

'One of the many paradoxes about Ali,' says historian Randy Roberts, 'is that he embraced an ideology that disparaged white people; yet he was never cruel to white people, only blacks. Except for occasional humorous barbs, Ali's white opponents were treated with dignity and respect. But things got ugly with Floyd Patterson, Ernie Terrell and Joe Frazier. And sure, Patterson and Terrell might have asked for it because of things they said. But Joe was innocent. And to deny the cruelty of what Ali did to Joe Frazier is to continue to be cruel to Joe.'
Ummm, what was it that Ali did to Joe Frazier? As far as I know they had a few fights and Frazier won the first one. Was there some mean stuff that Ali said that a casual boxing fan might not remember? If I can stop denying whatever cruelty there was then I can stop being cruel to Joe. I wanna be a nice guy. sorry, this is more of an Ask Spofi kind of thing. dunno if that is frowned upon

posted by gspm at 10:26 AM on November 14, 2003

I don't have the answer for you gspm, but I would hope that this isn't "frowned upon" by the group. With the different geographies, generations, genders and sporting cultures represented at SportsFilter, part of the appeal for me is to fill in all of those gaps in my sports "knowledge", which includes (or should) a healthy dose of historical Ask SpoFi-ism.

posted by smithers at 10:35 AM on November 14, 2003

sorry, this is more of an Ask Spofi kind of thing. dunno if that is frowned upon no! no frowns. i like this idea, a lot.

posted by jerseygirl at 11:05 AM on November 14, 2003

me too

posted by garfield at 11:07 AM on November 14, 2003

Basically Ali wore down Frazier and ground him down and constantly insulted him. Ali grew up middle class in Louisville and Frazier grew up dirt poor...yet Ali was the "people's champ". At first that moniker was self anointed but eventually Ali really became beloved for standing up to the man. But Frazier was really more like the Black people of the time...he grew up poor and worked his way out of the he figured that he should get the love that Ali denied him. Frazier is/was a very sensitive man, and Ali's constant barbs and haranguing (especially calling him a gorilla) got to him. Ali was pretty, Frazier was ugly. Ali was articulate, Frazier was not. Ali painted Frazier as an Uncle Tom. Ali always said he was just trying to publicize the fight but he was wounding him pretty good. Let me grab the books I have and see if I can find a passage.

posted by vito90 at 11:52 AM on November 14, 2003

Can't really find much in the books other than what I've put there. If you google Ali, Frazier, gorilla, Uncle Tom, you'll see a bunch of articles that pretty well spell it out. Evidently Frazier still harbors resentment, because he supposedly said he'd like to "push [Ali] in" to the Olympic torch when Ali was lighting it.

posted by vito90 at 12:08 PM on November 14, 2003

...supposedly said he'd like to "push [Ali] in" to the Olympic torch when Ali was lighting it.
That's harsh.
Slightly OT, I like the idea of "Ask SpoFi".
Next question please.

posted by lilnemo at 12:20 PM on November 14, 2003

feature request for : Ask SpoFi

posted by garfield at 12:28 PM on November 14, 2003

aye, thanks vito for recap and help in getting me started on finding out more. i thought Ask Spofi would be a decent feature request and thought about catergorizing the post as a Feature Request but thought Navel Gazing was safer in case there was any "piss off and take your questions to some boxing bulletin board" which I didn't expect but you know. yeah, it ain't bad for a new locker room category I imagine. that and Interviews.

posted by gspm at 12:42 PM on November 14, 2003

This stuff is what the Locker Room is for. Actually, this probably would've been worth an FPP ("Yeah, you know me!"). Keep on keepin' on.

posted by worldcup2002 at 01:43 PM on November 14, 2003

Can we get a status check on current unimplemented feature requests?

posted by lilnemo at 04:23 PM on November 14, 2003

aw, just leave the overlords be.

posted by jerseygirl at 04:57 PM on November 14, 2003

current unimplemented feature requests: -Ask Spofi -Pony rides -wc2002 interview generator -photo ID required for new member signup seriously, I do like the Ask Spofi idea, and I think it would be good for front page posts to generate discussions

posted by msacheson at 01:20 AM on November 15, 2003

HOw does that interview generator work? I also think just having more posts (10 instead of five?) on the Locker Room main page would be the most popular new feature to implement.

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:32 AM on November 15, 2003

And don't forget the game discussion section!

posted by billsaysthis at 01:13 PM on November 15, 2003

vito pretty much summed it up, but here's the obligatory shitload of salient links.
I think it's sad that with the current vogue in Ali hagiography (culminating with the surprisingly boring and incredibly oversimplified film Ali ), Frazier's very real beef with the way Ali cast him has received little or no serious attention outside of serious fans of the sport. Where's HIS bio-doc?
and when's my royalty check getting here?

posted by forksclovetofu at 09:14 PM on November 15, 2003

After preview: it's worth bearing in mind that the article you're referencing is from the British Guardian.
Here in America we don't like having to face the more complicated issues and double dealings that both Ali and Frazier had to cope with in order to become professional athletes at a less balanced and sensitive time in US racial history. Confronting these sorts of actions would force us to explain to our kids why one of the few unblemished American heroes of the past sixty years occasionally played house nigger for the white owned and operated media and sports industry.
I have nothing but respect for Muhammad Ali. He's one of the most important and influential sportsmen in history. But to presume that he was _always_ speaking in the interest of the public good is foolish. Ali was an athlete ahead of his time in many ways; he was well aware of how to manipulate his public image to his best use decades before the NBA held summer camps to explain to rooks how to speak with reporters.
"Viet-Cong ain't never did nothing to me" is and was an astonishingly valiant and stunningly brave statement but his slurs of "gorilla" and "ignorant" aimed at the darker-skinned, broader nosed Frazier are not. Further, this sort of race-baiting ran directly counter to his Muslim beliefs.
Try and imagine Shaquille making statements about how Yao couldn't pick up a rebound with chopsticks or how he's surprised ZhiZhi can see the hoop through his slanty eyes. The international press would call for Diesel's head. It's no less appropriate that Ali, legend and all, is called to the mat occasionally to answer for his own actions. It's our responsibility as intelligent sports fans to understand the historical context of these statements.
Please write a paper on this topic, no less than 850 words. Due next Friday. /off soapbox, a little sheepishly...

posted by forksclovetofu at 09:39 PM on November 15, 2003

words, or links?

posted by smithers at 08:13 AM on November 16, 2003

for what it is worth (FCT) the piece ran in the Guardian but it was an excerpt of material from the forthcoming Ali mega book GOAT. and thanks for links to peruse.

posted by gspm at 11:47 AM on November 16, 2003

current unimplemented feature requests: collaborative RSS feed. This is by far the easiest of the above to implement as well.

posted by djacobs at 04:17 PM on November 16, 2003

current unimplemented feature requests: Fantasy sports category for the locker-room. Even easier to implement.

posted by mkn at 05:57 PM on November 16, 2003


posted by Fat Buddha at 05:07 AM on November 17, 2003

djacobs: SportsFilter has an RSS feed.

posted by rcade at 08:47 AM on November 17, 2003

SharpReader does not like the RSS, dude! "Error parsing RSS XML: Not a valid xml document: The XML declaration is unexpected. Line 2, position 3. Please try to validate this feed. If this feed validates as correct RSS, you can send an error report." Feed Validator agrees.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:37 AM on November 17, 2003

I think djacobs will point out that the (gimpy or not) RSS feed on offer is not what he had in mind when he brought up the idea of the collaborative RSS feed on two previous occasions. So this might be considered his third mention/request without any suggestion of action beyond the possible distribution of ponies.

posted by gspm at 02:01 PM on November 17, 2003

I think Ali was like the Dude in Big Lebowski - jsometimes there's a man, and he is a man of his time, and sometimes... I forgot how this goes. He basically was a media magnet but the people loved him and for some reason he apparently didn't like Smokin' Joe. Maybe he was trying to elevate Frazier and get him some money. I wouldn't put it past him. Ali wanted to get paid just like everyone else.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:37 PM on November 18, 2003

Dude, if you're going to quote the Big Lebowski, go all out. Here is the text in question: ...I only mention it 'cause some- times there's a man--I won't say a hee-ro, 'cause what's a hee-ro?--but sometimes there's a man. And I'm talkin' about the Dude here-- sometimes there's a man who, wal, he's the man for his time'n place, he fits right in there--and that's the Dude... Fellow Achievers are always appreciated.
God bless Sam Elliott.

posted by lilnemo at 02:04 PM on November 18, 2003

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