|Reuters File Phote|
I thought he was a terrific athlete. He was a world champion boxer. I understand he was a wonderful philanthropist. He also did his fair share with civil rights in a country which still is largely divided.
But what Muhammad Ali was not was a great husband. Or a great Father. Or a great American. And these qualities are, in my opinion, that champions a man's life. These are what should be leaving him with a sparkling legacy.
These are my opinions. I didn't know the guy personally.
Did you know that Muhammad was married 4 times? That hasn't been mentioned very often this past weekend as everyone talks about his "greatness". Muhammad loved women and struggled with staying faithful to them. He had children with women other than his four wives. There are a known 9 children. Some people say there are more. I wonder how involved he was in the lives of these children. I have read that he was estranged, for years, from his one biological son. It is said his 4th wife caused a strain among his children and his brother. I don't know if he was able to protest due to his Parkinson's disease. But to me, a great man, is a great husband and a great father. Muhammad did not seem to possess these qualities. Have you ever heard the quote, "The best thing a father can do for his children is love their mother."?
Muhammad converted to Islam in the early 1960's. When he was drafted into the military, during the years of the Viet Nam war,he refused to go. He was stripped of his heavyweight titles while he fought the American government to stay out of jail. He never served any jail time and won back his rights to box and paid some hefty fines. But many other young men, who didn't have the means that Ali had, died serving our great country in a war no one believed in. Why was Ali any different. Because of his religion? Because of his status as an Olympic boxer? Because he had money? I came from a family of military people. Richard served our country during the Korean war. I had two brothers, cousins, an uncle (and probably countless others I don't know about) who served as well. My one brother trudged through the jungles of Viet Nam. I'm sure he didn't want to do that anymore than Muhammad Ali wanted to. But we came from a family who believed, if you are called, you serve.
I think we should give accolades to Muhammad Ali for what he was. A great boxer. But he was not "The Greatest" as he liked to say during his career. Because, to me, the greatest would have also meant he was a great American. A great husband. A great father.
I imagine my opinion will not be a popular one. But it's my opinion. And I needed to voice it! RIP Muhammad Ali!!