President Donald Trump indicated that he is considering a posthumous “full pardon” for boxing champion Jack Johnson after actor Sylvester Stallone spoke with him on the phone about the case.
Johnson became the first black heavyweight world champion boxer when he famously won a match in 1908.
“Sylvester Stallone called me with the story of heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson. His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!”
According to a documentary about Jackson, he beat his girlfriend, Etta Duryea, sending her to the hospital. Though they were later married, she suffered from depression and committed suicide with a gunshot to the head.
Despite his celebrity, he was convicted of violating the Mann Act by transporting a woman across state lines “for immoral purposes” while he had relationships with white prostitutes, according to The Undefeated website. He married one of the women, Lucille Cameron, but the government convicted him based on the relationship he had with another woman, Belle Schreiber.
Jackson fled the country to escape prison but returned in 1920 to serve his sentence, spending ten months in prison.
He died in a car accident in 1946 at the age of 68.
Several political figures have pressed for a full posthumous pardon for Jackson, including Sens. John McCain and Harry Reid. In 2015, Congress passed a resolution supporting the pardon.
Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama did not issue a pardon, despite growing public support:
Sylvester Stallone called me with the story of heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson. His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial. Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2018