Flashback: Boxing Great George Foreman Had Perfect July 4 Answer to Anthem Protesters


Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.

He’s been a boxing legend for more than 50 years, but George Foreman proved last Independence Day that he’s still a champ.

The man — whose career included winning Olympic gold for his country as a young adult, earning the title of world heavyweight champion as a pro and earning success as an entrepreneur outside the ring — has already more than proven his own worth.

Now, he has a few things to teach the spoiled athletes of 2021 — and it’s what all Americans need to hear.

Foreman published a tweet on Sunday featuring a picture of himself after winning the gold in 1968.

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“For about 54 years, people have ask me not to keep saying ‘I love America,’” Foreman wrote. “Well I do and I’m not ashamed. Don’t leave it; Love it. Happy 4th of July.”

At a time when conversations about the Olympics are dominated by the petulant Gwen Berry — who used her third-place finish in hammer throwing at the June 26 Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon, to stage a juvenile protest against the national anthem — Foreman’s statement is a breath of fresh air.

And while he had some detractors in the liberal-dominated world of social media, plenty of users appreciated it.

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These days, unfortunately, the two athletes best remembered for the Mexico City games are Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the American sprinters who infamously turned their raised fists into “black power” symbols on the podium after receiving their medals.

Foreman turned his fists into weapons against the Soviet Union’s Jonas Cepulis, defeating the Lithuanian to win the heavyweight boxing gold medal and make a statement to the world about American fighting prowess amid the war in Vietnam and the Cold War across the globe.

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Then he celebrated, as Barstool Sports put it,  by “waving and kissing a small American Flag. At the time, even waving the flag had become controversial, as deep tensions had grown in a year of black power salutes.”

As Foreman’s website biography recounts, he then went on to win the title of heavyweight champion in 1973 when he defeated Joe Frazier, then lost it to Muhammad Ali in 1974 in one of the greatest fights in boxing history.

Astoundingly, he won the title again in 1994 at the ancient age — for boxing — of 45. A middle-aged man triumphant in a young man’s game.

In 1977, Foreman became a born-again Christian after a losing decision in Puerto Rico.

“It was in his dressing room after the fight that Foreman had a religious experience that changed his life forever. Foreman gave up boxing and became a born-again Christian,” his biography states.

For younger Americans, he might be best known as the man behind the George Foreman barbecue grill line — a rare, stellar example of a boxer building a successful business career outside the “sweet science.”

As an American life story, it’s tough to beat — full of struggle, hard work, setbacks and triumph. As a human story, it’s tough to beat.

And it has a message for the malcontented Americans of 2021 — from the fabulously wealthy, famous, and famously carping LeBron James, to the adolescent “adults” like Berry, to the young campus liberals who claim they’re “embarrassed” to be Americans.

America: “Love it.”

Two simple words that are the perfect answer to the Berrys and the Kaepernicks, the anthem kneelers and the flag haters.

There’s not a country in the world like it. There never has been. And if its enemies succeed — foreign and domestic — there might never be again.

But it’s well worth fighting for.

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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.