Muhammad Ali’s daughters discuss his health after “frail” photo surfaces

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The highly anticipated documentary about one of the greatest heavyweights in boxing history, Muhammad Ali, is debuting in U.S. theaters and on-demand October 10, and is titled I Am Ali.

The film is built around tape recordings, primarily from from the late 1970’s, where Ali speaks to his children and explains that the “audio journals will would day be part of history.”

Now they are, and they lend a rare perspective to a story of ‘The Greatest.”

Muhammad Ali’s daughters, Maryum Ali and Hana Ali are featured throughout the film, recalling their memories of their father.

In an interview with theGrio’s Chris Witherspoon for MSNBC2, Maryum, Hana, and the films producer and director, Claire Lewins, open up about how Muhammad Ali’s larger than life legacy comes to life in I Am Ali.

Hana and Maryum also weighed in on some of the stories in the news right now about professional athletes like Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson.

“If we can’t use these moments to address the broader communities that go through domestic violence and we’re just gonna stick on Ray Rice and what happens with his career, we do people a disservice who are struggling in these kinds of relationships,” Maryum said.

When asked whether or not athletes of today are living up to their father’s legacy, Maryum and Hana said, “no way.”

“Of course not,” Maryum added. “There’s nothing in a rule book that says they have to.  The reality is a Ray Rice comes from something. Chris Brown comes from something. They may have witnessed domestic violence, but again we should look at them like we look at anyone else with that issue. They need help. Yes they’re rich, but they need help. Forturnately my dad didn’t have that. You can’t really hold everybody up to his standard, that’s not gonna happen.”

“People have to remember that when your a celebrity there’s a responsibility that comes with that. It’s a gift. My father had that. He knew that people looked up to him and he was a role model,” Hana added.

Last weekend, 72-year-old Muhammad Ali was in his hometown of Louisville Kentucky to help present former NFL running back, Jim Brown, with a humanitarian achievement award, prompting the New York Daily News to publish the headline, “Muhammad Ali appears frail at event honoring NFL legend Jim Brown.”

Hana and Maryum gave an update on their father’s health and criticized the media for sometimes exaggerating Muhammad Ali’ health condition.

“People don’t understand Parkinson’s and they don’t know what it looks like, so when they look at him now… like when he goes out in public sometimes, the press will start stuff, like ‘he’s dying,'”Maryum said.

“He wakes up in the morning and that’s when he’s the most fresh. His mind is the most alert,” Hana added. “As the day goes by he gets tired, that’s just one of the side effects of Parkinson’s. But he’s not in pain. He’s alert… other than the fact that he has Parkinson’s, he’s in complete perfect health.”

The ladies revealed that their father is very much clued in on the current news cycle, and is disheartened by the police brutality that occurred this summer in Ferguson, Missouri.

“I know that if my father could speak and he didn’t have Parkinson’s he would be out there… forefront. Right there,” Maryam said. “I always told him, ‘you would be a preacher or something.’ Maybe Al Sharpton wouldn’t have a spot if Muhammad Ali could talk. My dad would have been a total social activist.”

I Am Ali debuts on-demand and in theaters October 10.

Follow theGrio.com’s Entertainment Editor Chris Witherspoon on Twitter @WitherspoonC.