McCain again urges pardon for boxer

Two lawmakers are appealing to President Barack Obama to pardon renowned black boxer Jack Johnson, who was imprisoned a century ago because of his romantic link to a white woman.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Rep. Peter King of New York, both Republicans, sent a letter to Obama Wednesday. In the letter, obtained by The Associated Press, they said they were “sorely disappointed” by the response from the Justice Department’s pardon attorney. Ronald L. Rodgers told them the Justice Department, as a policy, does not process pardons for dead people. The pair asked Obama to “disagree with Mr. Rodgers’ assessment, concur with Congress and swiftly issue a posthumous pardon for Mr. Johnson.”

Johnson was the first African-American heavyweight champion.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.