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Georgette Bondon

Zirin's point in saying that "Muhammad Ali's brilliance was not that he was an antiwar prophet" was to state that he was a man that overall stood for something, which was important as a black man in that time. Ali was a person in the public eye, so if he were to say nothing about his beliefs rather than standing up for something he believed in he wouldn't be appropriately using his fame.

The cookie

Nice article!


1. Zirin's purpose of his conversation with the Louisville cab driver was to show how much he enjoyed serving his country in the war against Vietnam. In his opinion those were the best years of his life serving his country and he made it sounds like he wouldn't trade it for anything. It contributes to his essay because it then brings on the topic of Muhammad Ali's decision to not participate in the war and how he was against it. Even though Ali didn't participate in the war, the cab driver still said that he respected Ali for his decision and the fact that he stuck to his beliefs, which did not take away from his respectable career as a boxer. I believe it is effective because it shows that Ali even though he was sent to jail for his beliefs is still one of the best boxers of all time in not just my opinion but many others.
2. Before reading this article all I knew about Ali was that he was one of the best boxers ever, 3-time heavy weight champion, and a gold medalist at the age of 18. I knew that he had declined to go into the Vietnam War but I didn't know why or what impact it had. Zirin's description of Ali was very surprising to me of what he did with his refusal to go into the war. His stand against racism and war made him an international hero and inspired everyone to make a stand on their beliefs no matter the repercussions. To me that made him even more inspirational, even outside his presence in the ring.
3. Zirin's point in saying “Muhammad Ali's brilliance was not that he was an antiwar prophet” was to say that he did much more at the time than just protest the war, he stood up for the black community and because he was an idol to many, it showed that more people can take a stand in what they believe in.
4. The Scandals between all three articles were similar in the fact that all the athletes were involved in an illegal activity, which for the most part knew what they were doing. In Moller and Joe Posnanski’s essays, they talked about athletes going against the law and using steroids or other performance enhancers. In Zirin's essay, Ali went against the law by not entering into the Vietnam war, after he was drafted. These essays were similar because it was an illegal activity that the athletes were doing but the essays were also very different. In Zirin's article he talks about how Ali purposely went against the law by refusing to go to war and he knew that there would be a consequence and readily accepted it. Unlike Ali, the many baseball players in Moller and Joe Posnanski’s essays knew that they were participating in an illegal activity, were trying to hide the fact that they would get caught, and did it anyways even though it was against the rules. Just to improve their performance. These articles are significant because it shows that many athletes knowingly go against the law, no matter the impact. In Ali's case, helping society and the black community. For the baseballs players, giving fans better results, stats, and better games to watch. These scandals serve a major part in society, for the players, where they better themselves or for Ali and helping the community, showing anyone that they can take a stand in what they believe in. All three articles show issues about not cooperating with the law but they have to keep their morals in line on what impact it would have and on which people.

S. McCabe

1) The anecdote that Zirin shares in his article, contributes quite a bit to his overall argument and point. The cab driver is a hardcore Vietnam vet who loved the war and basically stood on the opposite side of belief about the war than Ali. However, when asked about Ali the cab driver’s response surprised me; he respected Ali and even said, “Well, you have to love Ali.” Ali was a figured that opposed the war and for a Vietnam vet to hold Ali up with such respect means that no one can deny the significance of Ali’s actions. This strengthens Zirin’s article immensely, in that it shows the even the greatest of supporters of the war can respect all that Ali did.
2) I by no means would say that I know a lot about Muhammad Ali, but I knew some about his life prior to reading this article. I had seen the movie about him entitled Ali and read about him a little. I was unaware about his jail sentence for refusing to draft into the army and also that he took such a significant stance against the war. I thought that he only boxed and was a supporter of Islam. It was surprising to read that he was exiled from the boxing ring for three and a half years and that he was stripped of his title. I did not live through the time that all this was happening, so I never really thought that Ali had such a huge impact o society. The significance of his actions and all that he did was surprising to me as well.
3) The author is trying to dictate that Ali’s brilliance was that he was not “viewed” as an antiwar prophet. He was so ingenious with his actions that even supporters of the war (such as the cab driver) loved him. He stood for so much more than that, so in the eyes of the public he was a courageous individual.
4) Ali’s scandal compared to that of performance enhancing drug scandals of past athletes share many differences and a few similarities. One of these major differences, is that Ali was making a statement and took a stand against the government; he didn’t refuse the draft to increase his performance in boxing, it was a lot more than that. Willie Mays took enhancements to help himself in his own career as a baseball player, as well as, Barry Bonds, A Rod, and many others. The scandals they committed where more selfish at heart than that of Ali’s. Now, these scandals still share some similarities in that, they all had significant impacts on the careers of the athletes and mostly negatively influenced what people thought about them. The only exception is that now, people regard Ali in a favorably fashion instead of negatively. It is my belief that Ali’s stance was more courageous than the baseball players’ selfish desires when taking performance-enhancing drugs. Society holds athletes up on a pedestal and pressures them into pursuing perfection. Sooner or later, the athlete will give in and look for short cuts to improve and get ahead. Society and the media crave more from these athletes, which fuel the athletes to do drastic things that they normally wouldn’t. It really isn’t the athletes that are to blame, it is us.

Matthew Dixon

Muhammad Ali was referred as great man of his time. Not only did he become one of the greatest boxers of all time; he refused the Vietnam draft because he believed the U.S. would increase oppressive control. At the same time, his people were being brutalized by racism, which, if anything, gave him more incentive to fight against the government. In the eyes of several people, regardless of what he stood against and how that can conflict with people such as Vietnam War veterans, he took a strong stand against his draft and for his black community. And people respected that. I agree with Zirin’s statement that Ali’s brilliance was not that he was an anti-war prophet because he stood for much more than just the war. Ali stood for justice within the war effort and the treatment of his fellow people. S. McCabe commented in a post that his actions were ingenious to the public community and that even supporters of the Vietnam War loved and respected what he did. Ali stuck to his beliefs and fought for what he believed was right which made him such a well-known, respected, and courageous man. The example given with the cab driver further demonstrates the fantastic legacy of Muhammad. The cab driver states, “‘He believed what he believed and no one could tell him different. He stuck to his own guns and, well, you gotta love Ali.’” I believe it takes much respect for a person that whose actions demonstrate the opposite to have much reverence for. Also, I believe that stripping away his title resulting in his exile from the ring for a few years was unnecessary. Being exiled could have resulted in the discontinuation of his career because of his absence or at least he would have been far behind in fights and possibly training. If that was his only career and there was nothing to fall back on then he could have been in a tough situation.

Michelle Tran

I agree with Stephen Marche’s article, “A Short Prayer for Advertising,” that advertisements can only be taken at face value, literally. Though as Karen Donohue-Barrett comments that it seems as if Marche is torn between the value and impact advertisements have on our everyday lives. He does not know whether to praise it or blame them for our obesity and financial problem. However, I do see his dilemma. The Super Bowl commercials played at half time can almost be considered a national past time and it is spectacular compared to the advertisements that we must bear with as we commute throughout our day. Today, one can encounter over thousands of messages sent through advertisements in a flyer, on the screens at grocery stores, inside and on an actual bus, and not to mention on the radio stations we play as many drivers sit through traffic on their way to school, work, or home. Though I am not saying that some ads are not entertaining or clever, but many ads are lacking in the art and creativity portion. They merely force their delicious looking products to the public, jammed in mail boxes and spamming email accounts, who then take the ads to save a quick buck as they speed to the establishment to grab a quick bite on their short break, but when the burger is finally unwrapped at the desk, seldom does it appear as it is presented in the pictures. I do not know about the general public, but it depresses me and truthfully, I know I deserve better. But better what? Better advertisements like the ones that are selected for the Super Bowl half time as Donohue-Barrett suggests Marche is implying in his article? Donohue-Barrett brings up an excellent point though. If advertisements become clever and sly, will the nation’s problem of debt and obesity not just grow larger, but maybe even past the point of no return? I think we just need to warp the advertisements images of the people we dream to be. You are only as strong as your name brand as Marche demonstrated with Naomi Klein who was something when people listened to her.

McKenzie McIlrath

1. I think that including the part about the cab driver made the article that much more real. To hear what people had to say about Ali in his own town, people who fought for our country and still had respect for him said a lot about Ali as a man. Including this in the article made it seem much more effective than it would have been without it.
2. I have obviously heard of Ali before, I knew that he refused to fight in the war but I didn’t know that it was mad such a huge issue. I had mostly heard about his boxing career and seen highlights of his matches on late night TV shows. I didn’t realize he had such a large impact on our country outside of his sports career. I was surprised to see that he had a lot more going on other than his boxing; I also didn’t know that he was banned from the sport.
3. I feel that Zirin is saying that Ali wasn’t an important figure in history because he was antiwar but more so that he was a complex man with many views on certain issues. He wasn’t your everyday antiwar protestor he came with much more depth and reasoning for believing the things he did.
4. In today’s athletic world we have seen many scandals with famous, well known athletes taking performance enhancing drugs and then getting caught. I feel like this is no way can compare to the scandal that went on with Ali refusing to serve in the military. Ali was standing up for something that he believed in and because it got media attention and became well known in America it was looked at as a “scandal” today when things happen with athletes using drugs and it becoming headlining news its very different. The athletes today use the drugs to become better athletes, it is against policies and it is wrong. What Ali did was stand up for something that he was firm believer in and even though it was known as a scandal its one with more meaning. 100 years from now people will still be talking about Ali and standing up for what he believed in, he went to schools and talked about why he did what he did. You don’t see Lance Armstrong going around to schools saying that he used drugs because he truly believed it was acceptable. Ali created a scandal for the right reasons and athletes today create scandals for the wrong ones.

Chloe Rangel

1) I believe that use of the anecdote about the cab driver help Zirin prove his point. Someone from the town where Ali is from and fought in the Vietnam war can still say something nice about him even though he has done things in his life that are scandalous. It is not always about how you stood for what you stand for, sometimes it's simply about what you stand for. I believe that the anecdote is effective because it makes everything about the article very realistic.
2)I had already previously knew that Ali had ditched the draft but I never really know why. I was surprised to learn about the court case and how things played out. Ali, has always been my hero due to my own boxing career but now I am even more inspired due to everything he stood for. Zirin's description of Ali infuriated me slightly because of the awful truth of it. People just tear him apart because they can. His legacy has reached the point where people want to criticize everything he stood for.
3)Zirin's point was the Ali stood for much more than antiwar, he stood for what he believed was right and did not care what everyone else thought. Ali knew it was important to believe in himself and do what he felt was right. His legacy is much more than draft dodging, it is everything he stood for.
4)As Zirin reminds us, Ali’s conviction for refusing the draft was a major national scandal at the time; similar scandals in recent years have been caused by prominent athletes using prohibited drugs (see William Moller’s and Joe Posnanski’s essays in your text). Certainly there are similarities in the social scandals of the two eras. In what ways are the scandals similar? In what ways different? How significant are the parallels? What functions do scandals about sports heroes serve in society? Write an essay in which you take a position on that question. Use Zirin, Moller, and / or Posnanski as your “they say,” and support your own argument with examples.
To begin with, the scandals only have a few things in common, those being they involved athletes and they were scandalous but why they were scandalous is not comparable. Ali was standing up for what he believe in and what was right, not standing up for the something that is harmful and toxic to his body to make him a better athlete. Yes, both scandals are central around something illegal but dodging the draft is way different than using performance enhancing drugs because standing up for what you believe in is different than poisoning your body. I understand that athletes are under a lot of pressure but they should also realize that they are watched and looked up to and should take pride in being role models. They say that athletes take performance enhancing drugs because of the pressure of being the best. The only person anybody should ever be impressing, is themselves. No matter who you are, you live for yourself; what you believe in, what you think it right and what your heart desires. The function of sport scandals in today's society are just simply scandalous and ludicrous. More or less, today's scandals are for attention. I just believe that today everything in society is done to get attention and I wish is was something I just thought and didn't know for sure. People in the media who believe that it is alright to act out don't realize that they are the influence of children and that in just one of the many factors that result in this generation being scandalous as a whole.

Jessica Anne

Most people have, at the very least, an idea of Muhammad Ali and what he has done. He is such a popular icon that continues and will forever continue to be in conversations. His famous quote, “Float like a butterfly, Sting like a bee” is one that most people have heard of. Dave Zirin, author of, “Muhammad Ali at 70: What he meant, what he means” discussed how much of an impact Ali was/is in our history and in the lives of other people. His opposition of the war in Vietnam has opened the eyes of many people and he gave voice to people who felt that they had none. Zirin put it simply, “He [Ali] knew that not taking a stand could be as political a statement as taking one.” Regarding Zirin’s use of the cab driver anecdote, I agree with eberg’s comment that suggests the reasoning behind that story was to lead to the topic of Ali. I want to add that the anecdote also showed parallelism between the cab driver and Ali. Zirin expressed how the cab driver discussed the war and his, “pride, patriotism and unwavering belief in the duty of going to war...” which shows that the cab driver clearly stands for what he believes in. It may seem surprising that a Vietnam veteran would praise Ali, like McCabe’s surprise within his comment, but if one where to really think about it, it should not be at all surprising. Yes, Muhammad Ali is well known, he is considered one of the best boxers in the world, but the fact that he stood for what he believed in makes this man someone to look up to. The fact that the cab driver respected Ali, despite his pride in serving the war, makes perfect sense because he is respecting a man who, like himself, is adamant about what he truly believes. If one can empathize with another person they are more likely to respect one another.

Nino Gonzalez

Dave Zirin in his article, "Muhammad Ali at 70: What he meant, what he means." talks about the impact that Muhammad Ali had on society during the 60's. Zirin was in Louisville and noticed that everything was about Ali. He noticed that his cab driver was a veteran in Vietnam and he asked him "What do you think about Muhammad Ali? He opposed the war in Vietnam. He called it an illegal war aimed at increasing oppression throughout the globe. Now you're in a city where there is a Muhammad Ali Street and you're taking me to the Muhammad Ali Center. Does that bother you?" The cab driver responded, "Well, you have to love Ali." The rest of the article, Zirin talks about why Ali should be respected no matter if a person supported or opposed the Vietnam War. He explains how Ali had a great impact on the United States and I agree. Ali was fighting in the ring and also fighting against racism. He went to jail because he did not want to fight in Vietnam. I believe that because of people like Muhammad Ali, this country is more united than it has ever been. Ali loved what he did in the ring and he dedicated his life to that, but whenever he had some extra time, he would go speak at schools and public places to fight against slavery. Ali is known for being confident in what he believed and some people mistake that for being arrogant or conceited, but I personally respect him for that. He knew what he was doing when it came to fighting in the ring and fighting for civil rights. I agree with Zirin that Muhammad Ali is one of the most respected men of all time and he deserves it. Zirin explains in his article why he somewhat questioned Ali because he seemed arrogant but after talking with the cab driver, he respected Ali. This cab driver fought in Vietnam and still respected Ali which shows the impact that Ali had on society.

Lozano, Brian

To tell someone that they are wrong for standing for what they believe in is completely absurd. Muhammad Ali refused to fight in the war, and he paid the price for it. He did not regret it at all, he was happy to accept his punishment because it was what he believed in. He was a symbol at the time for the generation who took a stand against everything. At the time America was in a weird place, at war in a nation that they had no business being in, with a generation of kids who stood for everything that opposed the government. He was one of the firsts to refuse to go to the war in Vietnam, and he was made an example to all those who watched in amazement. A generation of kids looked up to this man for guidance, they did not know what to do, they needed someone to guide them. Ali was thrown into a position he never asked for, it was given to him without him being able to give it back. He had to show these kids what he truly believed, and they were all very eager to hear. They were susceptible to manipulation to revolt against the government, but Ali did not do this, he instead showed them the right way to show to disagreement with America. This is why Ali is looked upon with a great deal of respect by most.

not fake

That's the kind of image that i really thing is super image like. If more images very real like this were out there we'd be super full of graet images in the world.


Muhammed Ali's legend as a boxer made for the publicity when it came to his refusal of draft, and why his words were even heard. The polar culture gave him the pedestal to stand on and give those speeches that ring throughout history. He gained he respect through boxing which was an enormously popular sport in that day, and in the face of adversity, stayed true to himself and what he felt was right for him. The fact that Nelson Mandela while in prison heard Ali's speech is remarkable in and of itself. Merely the idea that even prisoners in countries around the world could hear and read what the legendary boxer spoke of when it came to his position made his words larger than life. Pop culture whether now or in 1967-68 can be good for people in an uplifting manor as well as a challenge to change systems that may be broken or rigged to work a certain way. Ali did just that by challenging the federal government.

Sara Hines

2.) I do not know a lot of background info on Muhammad Ali. However, from videos I've watched on Facebook of him speaking out on racial issues and societal issues in the African American communities, I couldn't helped but be impressed at how strong-willed and outspoken of a man he is. Only one thing in Zirin article surprised me. I was unaware of Ali's refusal to be drafted, however I don't condemn him for his decision. If i was a man in ALi's footsteps I would have done the same thing.

Max Z

Zirin’s purpose of his conversation with the cab driver was to show his enjoyment and appreciation to serve in the war against Vietnam. The cab driver was really thankful to serve for his country and wouldn’t change a thing about his past. This goes to show that the cab driver still had respect for Muhammad Ali’s decisions for being against the war. Ali was sent to jail for his beliefs against the war but is known as a hero to many for standing up for what he believes in.
What I had already known about Muhammad Ali was that he was a great boxer and the best for his time. I knew he was an icon to many people for various reasons from boxing to what he stands for. Zirin’s description of what he did and how he refused to go to war was shocking. Ali stood up against racism and war made him a worldwide hero. Muhammad Ali also started a revolution and inspired many to stand up for what they believe. This makes Muhammad Ali a very inspirational human all around the world.
Zirin’s point in saying that “Muhammad Ali's brilliance was not that he was an antiwar prophet” was to show that he did much more than just standing up for the black community. Ali gave people hope to stand up for what they believe in and was recognized as a national hero.
Ali’s conviction for refusing the draft was a major national scandal. Other scandals were athletes using prohibited drugs and to me that’s way different. Ali is all natural and only was convicted for doing what he believed was right. These other scandals were from athletes cheating and abusing prohibited drugs. The only similarities at the time were they were both illegal to do. What Muhammad did wasn’t wrong and only made him a worldwide hero unlike the other athletes who go down in history as cheaters.

Daniel Ramirez

To most people, Muhammad Ali is considered to be the greatest of all time. To most people, Ali, was a champion boxer but what most people don't know, is that it wasn't boxing that made him famous. An Olympic gold medalist at 18, three time heavyweight champ, and a participant in Fight of the Century many times. His boxing accomplishments however, did not make him the greatest of all time. I agree with Zirin when he says " it was his highly improvisational political courage that transformed him into a legend." It was his humility and will to take a stand against the war and racism at that time. Ali refused to fight in the Vietnam War. An all-white jury in Houston found him guilty of draft evasion and sentenced him to 5 years when a typical sentence for this crime was normally 18 months. Ali appealed, his sentence was overturned but he was still unfairly stripped of his title and was banned from the boxing ring for 3 1/2 year. Dave Zirin visited Louisville, Kentucky to interview Ali. While riding in the cab, Zirin asked the driver, a Vietnam war veteran, what he thought about Ali. The driver responded, "you have to love Ali." Despite he and Ali's opposing views about the war, the driver still admired Ali for standing up for something he believed in. Ali protested the war and became a confident public speaker, taking a stand against the war, telling his listeners that he would not go fight a war in Vietnam while his people at home were being brutalized. Ali stood behind his beliefs and has inspired so many people around the world, he even inspired Nelson Mandela. Even after his death, Muhammad Ali is and always will be considered the greatest of all time.

Brandon B.

In response to "Muhammad Ali at 70", Muhammad Ali was a huge political and public figure in the 1960's. He was known as the man who stood for something that he believed in and he would never back down from what he thought was right. During the Vietnam war, Ali did not agree with the illegal war that was happening. He believed it was wrong and he evaded the draft, then he was sentenced to prison like all others who agreed that the war was wrong. Unlike others who would only get 18 months of imprisonment, Ali received a 5 year sentence and when he appealed, he still received a three and a half year ban from the boxing ring. Ali never let what other people thought and did to him stop what he believed in. Muhammad Ali will forever be one of the greatest boxers to ever live and is one the greatest role models you can have.

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