- Which sports great refused to be drafted during the Vietnam War?
- Why did they refuse?
- How did their career turn out?
- What if they had been drafted?
- What was the public reaction?
- How did their teammates react?
- How did their family react?
- What would have happened if they had been drafted?
- What are the implications of their refusal?
- What lessons can be learned from their story?
Many sports greats have served their country during wartime, but there are also those who have refused to be drafted. One of the most notable examples is Muhammad Ali, who was drafted during the Vietnam War but refused to serve.
What other sports greats have refused to be drafted during wartime? Read on to find out.
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Which sports great refused to be drafted during the Vietnam War?
In the early 1970s, the Vietnam War was raging, and young men were being drafted to fight. Some of those men were athletes who had already signed professional contracts in their chosen sport. Among them was a young man who had recently become one of the world’s greatest basketball players. He shocked the world when he announced that he would not be drafted, and he became a symbol of resistance to the war. That man was Lew Alcindor, later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Why did they refuse?
The Vietnam War was a time of great political unrest in the United States. Many young men were drafted to fight in a war that many did not believe in. Some of these young men were sports stars who had the chance to use their platform to speak out against the war. Among these sports stars were Muhammad Ali, Curt Flood, and Jim Bouton.
Muhammad Ali was a world-famous boxer who refused to be drafted into the Vietnam War. He cited his religious beliefs as his reason for refusing to fight. He was arrested and found guilty of draft evasion. He was stripped of his heavyweight title and banned from boxing for three years.
Curt Flood was a baseball player who refused to be traded from the St. Louis Cardinals to the Philadelphia Phillies. He believed that baseball players should have more control over their careers and should not be treated like commodities. He sued Major League Baseball, but ultimately lost his case.
Jim Bouton was a pitcher for the New York Yankees who wrote a book called Ball Four, which was critical of Major League Baseball and Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. He was blacklisted by Major League Baseball and never pitched again in the majors.
How did their career turn out?
Some of the most famous and successful athletes in American history began their careers by doing something very controversial: refusing to be drafted into the military during the Vietnam War.
While many young men at the time saw joining the military as their patriotic duty, these athletes saw it as a waste of their talents and potential. So they made a stand and refused to be drafted.
Interestingly, each of these athletes had very different careers after they made this decision. Some became even more successful than they would have been if they had gone to Vietnam, while others saw their careers stall or even end prematurely.
Here are three of the most famous athletes who refused to be drafted during the Vietnam War, and what happened to their careers afterwards.
1. Muhammad Ali
Arguably the most famous athlete in history, Muhammad Ali was also one of the most controversial. He became a household name in the 1960s as one of the greatest boxers of all time, winning several world championships. But he also stirred up a lot of controversy with his outspoken political views, including his opposition to the Vietnam War.
In 1967, Ali was scheduled to be drafted into the military. But he refused on religious grounds, saying that he could not fight in a war that he did not believe in. He was arrested and convicted of draft evasion, but he appealed the decision all the way to the Supreme Court, which eventually overturned it.
During his time out of boxing, Ali became even more famous for his political views. He spoke out against racism and violence, and he was an outspoken advocate for social justice. When he returned to boxing, he was widely hailed as a hero by many Americans who supported his stance on the Vietnam War. He went on to have an even more successful career in boxing, regaining his world title several times before finally retiring in 1981.
2. Tom Seaver
Tom Seaver is widely considered one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history. He was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 1966 but refused to sign with them, instead choosing to play college baseball at USC. The following year, he was drafted by the New York Mets and signed with them instead.
Seaver made his debut with the Mets in 1967 and quickly established himself as one of baseball’s best pitchers, helping lead them to an unlikely World Series win in 1969. He won multiple Cy Young Awards throughout his career and was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1992.
In 1968, Seaver was scheduled to be drafted into the military but he succeeded in getting a deferment because he was still in college. The following year, after he had joined the Mets, he was again eligible for draft but he managed to get another deferment because he said he needed more time to develop his pitching skills (he also got married that year). Eventually Seaver’s deferments ran out and he was scheduled to be drafted again in 1970 but by then there was a nationwide movement opposing American involvement in Vietnam soSeaver decided not to go ahead with it and publicly announced his opposition to the war . As a result, Mets fans booed him whenever he pitched at home games that season . However ,Seaver continued to have a successful career , becoming one of baseball’s most revered players .
3) Gary Nash Nash is considered one of basketball ‘s all-time great point guards . He played college basketball at Santa Clara University before being selected by Portland Trail Blazers as part first overall pick 1974 NBA Draft . However , Nash chose not play forTrail Blazers instead opting join National Basketball Association ( NBA ) rival Los Angeles Lakers . After two seasons Lakers , Nash requested trade returned Portland .
What if they had been drafted?
What if sports greats like Muhammad Ali, Curt Flood and Tom Seaver had been drafted during the Vietnam War? It’s hard to say for sure, but it’s likely that their careers would have been very different.
All three men were at the height of their careers when they were of draft age. Ali was world heavyweight boxing champion, Flood was a Major League Baseball All-Star and Seaver was one of the best pitchers in baseball. But each of them chose to resist the draft, Ali and Flood because they opposed the Vietnam War and Seaver because he didn’t want to be forced to serve in a war he didn’t believe in.
If they had been drafted, it’s possible that their careers would have been cut short. Ali might have lost his title if he had been sent to jail for refusing to serve, as he did in 1967. Flood might have been forced to give up baseball if he had gone to prison, as he very nearly did. And Seaver might have lost his fastball if he had served in Vietnam, as many young men did after being drafted.
It’s also possible that their careers would have continued uninterrupted. Ali was a polarizing figure even before he refused to be drafted, and his stance only made him more popular with many people. Flood and Seaver were less well-known, but they both had strong support from their teammates and from the general public.
In any case, it’s clear that the decision to resist the draft had a profound impact on the lives of these three men. It changed the course of their careers and shaped their public image in ways that are still being felt today.
What was the public reaction?
The public reaction was mixed. Some people applauded the decision, while others criticized it. In the end, it was a personal decision that each athlete had to make for themselves.
How did their teammates react?
One of the most famous sports greats of all time, Muhammad Ali, refused to be drafted during the Vietnam War. His teammates at the time were divided in their reactions, with some supporting his decision and others not.
How did their family react?
During the Vietnam War, a number of high-profile athletes were drafted into the military. But one famous sports star refused to go: Muhammad Ali.
Ali, who was a heavyweight boxing champion at the time, was opposed to the war on religious grounds. He famously said, “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong.”
Ali’s decision not to be drafted caused a firestorm of controversy. His family was divided on the issue, with some members supporting his decision and others thinking he should have gone to war.
In the end, Ali was arrested and found guilty of draft evasion. He was stripped of his boxing title and banned from the sport for three years. But he continued to speak out against the war, and he later became an icon for the anti-war movement.
What would have happened if they had been drafted?
During the Vietnam War, many young men were drafted into the military. Some of them were sports stars who could have had a very different life if they had been drafted. One of them was Muhammad Ali, who was an Olympic gold medalist and world heavyweight boxing champion. He was drafted in 1966 but he refused to be inducted into the military. He was arrested and found guilty of draft evasion. He was stripped of his boxing title and his boxing license was suspended. He didn’t fight again until 1970.
What are the implications of their refusal?
When the United States began mandatory conscription for the Vietnam War, many young men were drafted into service against their will. Some of these men were famous athletes who had no desire to fight in a war they did not believe in. One of the most famous examples is Muhammad Ali, who was drafted in 1966. He refused to be inducted into the military, citing his religious beliefs as a member of the Nation of Islam. This led to his arrest and conviction for draft evasion. He was stripped of his heavyweight title and banned from boxing for three years.
Other athletes who refused to be drafted for the Vietnam War include:
-Jim Brown: NFL running back for the Cleveland Browns; later an actor and social activist
-Bill Russell: NBA center for the Boston Celtics; later a coach and executive
What lessons can be learned from their story?
One of the most divisive issues of the late 20th century was the Vietnam War. An entire generation was shaped by this conflict, and many young men were drafted into service. Some served willingly, but others were less enthusiastic about fighting in a war they didn’t believe in. One of the most famous examples of this is Muhammad Ali, who famously refused to be drafted on religious grounds.
What lessons can be learned from Ali’s story? For one, it’s important to stand up for what you believe in, even if it means going against the grain. It’s also important to think about the consequences of your actions before you take them. Ali knew that he could be arrested for his refusal to be drafted, and he was willing to accept that consequence for his beliefs.