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Muhammad Ali will forever be remembered in our hearts as a legendary boxer, civil rights champion, and ‘The Greatest of All Time.’ 

I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was. I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest.

Muhammad Ali

Statement from NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith:

He had a singular voice and unmatched courage to stand for something personal and risk it all. He had an all too human will to endure and conquer the crucible of hate at a time when it could have easily cost him his life. He wasn't perfect - who is - but he stood to fight for the perfect ideal of right. It cost him dearly and yet he stood. 

I met him only one time and that was as a law school student when our professor brought him to class to talk about how the law failed him and then exonerated him, only after it had forever robbed him of the most valuable years of his career. He took a fight all the way to the Supreme Court which overturned his conviction and noted that in every other similar case a conviction had been overturned or set aside. Yet, it took three years to fix the wrong for doing what Ali believed was right.

His note to me hangs in my home and is a constant reminder of the role of real people who are willing to lose everything in the fight for something more valuable. 

In an era where so many have so much, owed to the sacrifice of so few and yet pay back so little, we will miss him more than we will ever know. Thankfully, he still stands.

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