The champ is here! But are we ashamed of Muhammad Ali?

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    Muhammad Ali truly deserved his mantle of 'The Greatest.'

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    It was with mounting annoyance that I read a Fox Sports article about Muhammad Ali and his “sickening appearance” at a Marlins game the other day.

    Fox Sports journalist Robert Craddock described the scene as “quite sickening”.

    “The Kentucky-born superstar with the lightning-fast hands – and even faster tongue – is barely a shell of his former self,” read a News Limited commentary.

    Ali’s appearance at a Marlin’s game involved him being driven around the ground in a golf cart, with his hands shaking from Parkinson’s disease, and meeting some of the players.

    Why am I annoyed? Because the tone and text of the article suggested that Ali should stay out of the public eye and stop making any more public appearances because his condition makes people uncomfortable.

    Excuse me?

    That Ali has Parkinson’s is no secret. Indeed, he and Michael J. Fox are the most famous sufferers in the world.

    That Parkinson’s causes uncontrollable tremors is again no surprise, thanks in a large part to the work that Ali and Fox have done to publicise and promote research into the disease.

    I can remember watching Ali lighting the Olympic flame at the opening ceremony of the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.

    That was 16 years ago. His hands were shaking then.

    If anything, Ali’s appearance on the weekend demonstrates that the disease has not beaten him, that his formidable will power and strength have not left him.

    These are positive things.

    There is also a sense of a reality about it.

    Ali’s Parkinsons is suggested to be linked to the blows to his head he suffered as a boxer. It is a very real consequence. Why should that be hidden away?

    I think Craddock’s comments are first and foremost an insult to anyone with a disability. As if they should be hidden away lest their disability makes us uncomfortable?

    Secondly – does this rule apply to all sufferers of Parkinsons, or simply to those who were big and strong in our memory? We don’t want to deal with the reality of their mortality, do we?

    That commentators on Fox Sports are not astute should not come as much of a surprise. What does come as a surprise is that they would disrespect the champ and all sufferers of Parkinson’s disease like that.

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    The Crowd Says (17)

    • Roar Rookie

      April 12th 2012 @ 2:22am
      Stumpy said | April 12th 2012 @ 2:22am | ! Report

      Yeah the whole style of the commentary was pretty weak, who give a rats flaming ass if his disorder makes you feel uncomfortable.

      Who’s to say what benefits him most

      He is what he is one of the greatest sportsman of all time and his post career struggle with Parkinson’s is just as much his story as any other part of his life.

      Life’s not fair even to the greatest of us, so look at this “MAN” and honour his “GREATNESS” as he lives out the last great battle of his life.

      If you don’t have the stomach to look his struggle or the man in the eye, look away for you are undeserving.

    • April 12th 2012 @ 6:50am
      rl said | April 12th 2012 @ 6:50am | ! Report

      I just figured out why Craddock is called “Crash” – clearly he (Craddock) has an acquired brain injury.

    • April 12th 2012 @ 9:14am
      Mals said | April 12th 2012 @ 9:14am | ! Report

      If Ali truly wants to be there & is enjoying himself then I have no problem with it. However, if it is his limelight loving wife that is pushing these public appearances then shame on her.

    • April 12th 2012 @ 9:18am
      Bondy said | April 12th 2012 @ 9:18am | ! Report

      I initially was disappointed to see a great sporting legend in such a public circumstance ,I also realise I have no right too decide how and when somebody conducts themselves in a public place .

    • April 12th 2012 @ 9:21am
      BigAl said | April 12th 2012 @ 9:21am | ! Report

      I have not read the Craddock article, but the point – ‘…disability makes us uncomfortable’, could be due to the widely held opinion (guilt) that he was reduced to this state by just providing us with some fantastic entertainment over the years, particularly with Joe Frasier…

    • April 12th 2012 @ 10:45am
      manalien said | April 12th 2012 @ 10:45am | ! Report

      Great article…the plight of Parkinson’s sufferers should be publicised not shunned…

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