Jack Johnson, boxing’s first Black heavyweight champion, violated the Mann Act back in 1913 when he drove a white woman across state lines in his vehicle. Today, President Donald Trump, flanked by Sylvester Stallone and others, posthumously pardoned the legendary pugilist but some on Twitter viewed it as an empty act.
Joining Stallone in the Oval Office where Trump issued and signed the pardon was WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay Wilder and former undisputed World Heavyweight Champion, Lennox Lewis.
Back on July 4, 2010, when President Barack Obama was in office, Sen. John McCain was part of a growing chorus of voices seeking Jackson’s pardon along with an aggressive campaign from the family. Just under eight years later, the dream was realized in a moment that observers see as nothing more than a Trump photo op.
“If he was President 100 years ago, Trump would have had Jack Johnson deported,” Sportswriter David Zirin wrote in a retweet caption sharing the news.
Reaction across Twitter has moved Jack Johnson’s name near or at the top of Twitter’s Trending Topics section and we’ve collected some of the responses below and on the following pages.