Culture

Muhammad Ali: Celebrities Who Challenge Power Make America Great -- Kaepernick Critics Take Note

"If I kept my mouth shut just because I can make millions, then this ain't doin' nothing."

Photo Credit: UKTV

Muhammad Ali would probably have had a lot to say about Colin Kaepernick's protesting the national anthem Friday night. Having collaborated with Martin Luther King Jr., resisted the draft and boycotted the Moscow Olympics, Ali was quintessentially known for making entertainment political, and he encouraged other celebrities to do the same

"They make a million dollars," Ali once said of his peers. "They get 'em a Rolls-Royce. They get 'em a nice home. They get 'em a white wife. 'Well, I made it. America's great.' And the rest of [black people] catching hell, and he won't say nothing. But when one man of popularity can let the world know the problem, he might lose a few dollars himself telling the truth. He might lose his life. But he's helping millions. But if I kept my mouth shut just because I can make millions, then this ain't doin' nothing. So I just love the freedom and the flesh and blood of my people more so than I do the money." 

The clip was featured in the 2010 documentary Not Just a Game about the intersection of politics, power and sports. 

Alexandra Rosenmann is an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor.

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