Laila Ali: ‘I don’t ever expect anyone to be like my father’

Some have compared Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest to the actions of boxing legend Muhammad Ali during his storied career.

Ali’s daughter, Laila Ali, told she fully supports what the 49ers quarterback is doing but that no comparison can ever be made to ‘The Greatest.’

“There’s a comparison there because he is standing up for what he believes in when it has to do with social issues and racism and a lot of those things,” she said. “I mean obviously my dad did a whole lot more…we’ll see […] I don’t ever expect anyone to be like my father.”

For more than a month, Kaepernick has sat or knelt during the national anthem at football games to protest what he calls the oppression of blacks in America. Several athletes have followed his lead.

“I don’t personally think it will have the same type of impact [as protests in the past],” Laila said. “It’s a different time, but it still doesn’t take away from what he is doing.”

Muhammad Ali was known for being so much more than the heavyweight champion of the world. Ali was ‘The People’s Champion,’ dedicating his time in and out of the ring to fighting injustice.

It was Ali who gave up his heavyweight title because he refused to fight in the Vietnam War. He famously quipped:

Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights.

Ali passed away in June at the age of 74 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Unlike some of the quarterback’s critics, Laila does not see Kaepernick’s protest as self-promotion.

“He wasn’t just putting on a show. It’s something; he really wants to make a positive impact on the world.”

Ashantai Hathaway is a reporter at theGrio. Keep up with her on Twitter @ashantaih83.