Muhammad Ali became a legend for the way he fought opponents in the ring, but his legendary status also has to do with how he fought against racism.
The late boxer’s son Muhammad Ali Jr., however, said that his dad wouldn’t be supportive of Black Lives Matter if he were alive, nor the continued protests that have been going on. Ali Jr. told shared this with the New York Post in an interview published on June 20.
“Don’t bust up s–t, don’t trash the place. You can peacefully protest. My father would have said, ‘They ain’t nothing but devils.’ My father said, ‘All lives matter.’ I don’t think he’d agree,” said Ali Jr.
“I think it’s racist. It’s not just Black lives matter, white lives matter, Chinese lives matter, all lives matter, everybody’s life matters,” he continued. “God loves everyone. He never singled anyone out. Killing is wrong no matter who it is.”
“All Lives Matter” has been a common response used by people, who, like the 47-year-old Ali Jr., claim to believe that saying Black lives matter is racist, despite the movement’s founders never saying that only Black lives are important.
In 2016 a cartoonist for Chainsawsuit created a comic strip that many have referenced when arguing against the All Lives Matter people online.
The famous cartoon shows two people conversing as one says, “Well, I think that all lives matter. We should care exactly equally at all times about everything. All houses matter.”
That same character then uses a hose to spray a house that isn’t on fire while ignoring the home right next to it that’s engulfed in flames.
Later, the conversation with Ali Jr. moved on to police brutality, since the protests began after George Floyd died while in the custody of a Minneapolis police officer.
Ali Jr. said he has never been mistreated by a police officer despite previously making headlines for being detained by TSA in 2017 twice and questioned about his Muslim faith. It happened once at an airport in Florida, the state where he resides, and again at Reagan National Airport, in the Washington suburb of Arlington, Virginia.
“Police don’t wake up and think, ‘I’m going to kill a n—-r today or kill a white man,’” he explained. “They’re just trying to make it back home to their family in one piece.”
Ali Jr. then talked about Floyd’s death specifically.
“The officer was wrong with killing that person,” he stated. “But people don’t realize there was more footage than what they showed. The guy resisted arrest, the officer was doing his job, but he used the wrong tactic.”
Surveillance footage from a local business named Dragon Wok showed that Floyd didn’t resist arrest.
Ali Jr. was reportedly estranged from his father in the last 10 years of his father’s life. The boxing legend, who fought Parkinson’s disease for decades, died in 2016 at 73.
Ali Jr. also talked about antifa during the interview and President Donald Trump’s theory that they caused violence at protests.
“They’re no different from Muslim terrorists. They should all get what they deserve,” said Ali Jr. about the movement.
“They’re f–king up businesses, beating up innocent people in the neighborhood, smashing up police stations and shops. They’re terrorists, they’re terrorizing the community. I agree with the peaceful protests but the antifa, they need to kill everyone in that thing. Black Lives Matter is not a peaceful protest. Antifa never wanted it peaceful. I would take them all out.”
In another part of the discussion, Ali Jr. said that he supports Trump and that his father would have too. The son’s assertion about whether his father would have supported Trump might not be totally off-base, despite the current president’s well-established anti-Muslim positions. Muhammad Ali himself surprised many observers when he endorsed Republican President Ronald Reagan for reelection in 1984, the same election cycle in which the famed boxer had supported the failed bid of Jesse Jackson for the Democratic nomination.