Muhammad Ali’s Fight For The Right To Fight

Muhammad Ali is well known for his boxing career, but also is remembered for refusing to submit to induction into the Armed Forces of the United States. After his refusal, he was tried, convicted, and sentenced to five years in prison and a fine of $10,000. He also was stripped of his boxing title and his ability to box. In 1970, Ali challenged the New York State Athletic Commission’s ruling refusing to grant him a boxing license. Ali argued that his actions regarding the draft had no rational relation to his boxing profession, and that he was discriminated against because the commission licensed others who committed law violations, including military offenses. The United States District Court agreed with Ali. The Athletic Commission had granted, renewed, or reinstated licenses of boxers in 244 instances where the boxers had been convicted of felonies, misdemeanors, or military offenses.

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