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“I am proud to stand with Senator McCain once again to introduce this legislation,” said King. “Jack Johnson is a trailblazer and a legend, whose boxing career was cut short due to unjust laws and racial persecution. I urge the Congress and the President to do the right thing and take the final step and grant his pardon."

"A full pardon would not only shed light on the achievements of an athlete who was forced into the shadows of bigotry and prejudice, but also allow future generations to grasp fully what Jack Johnson accomplished against great odds,” added McCain.

The two lawmakers, both life-long fight fans, have been introducing legislation to pardon Johnson since 2004. Filmmaker Ken Burns, who directed "Unforgiveable Blackness: the Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson" has been among the leading advocates of a pardon.

The White House declined to comment for this story.