President Trump says he may pardon deceased boxing great Muhammad Ali

American Heavyweight boxer Cassius Clay, training in his gym 21st May 1965

President Donald Trump says he may pardon another late heavyweight boxing champion - this time, Muhammad Ali. "I am thinking about Muhammad Ali", said Trump, adding that he was "looking at literally thousands of names" in regards to potential pardons from his administration.

Though Ali was convicted of evading the draft for the Vietnam War in 1967, the Supreme Court later overturned that decision in 1971. He eventually appealed his conviction, and the US Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 1971 in a unanimous ruling that found the Department of Justice had improperly told the draft board that Ali's stance wasn't motivated by his Muslim religious beliefs.

It was not immediately clear why Trump cited Ali as in need of a pardon, given that Ali has no criminal record. Trump said that "instead of talk", he is going to ask protesting players to suggest "people that they think were unfairly treated by the justice system".

But while controversial, Ali's resistance on grounds of conscience made him a hero to many during a highly polarized period marked by struggles over racial inequality and rising opposition to the U.S. role in the Vietnam War.

It's even more awkward and confusing than Trump's argument Friday that he's not above the law, but that he most certainly has the power to pardon himself.

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Trump also granted a commutation this week to 63-year-old Alice Marie Johnson, releasing from prison a great-grandmother who was serving a life sentence for drug trafficking. Four years after he was convicted by a jury in Houston, sentenced to five years in prison and then stripped of his heavyweight championship by boxing commissions, the Court declared that Ali was improperly drafted in the first place. On Friday morning, after Trump mentioned his interest in pardoning Ali, Ali's lawyer Ron Tweel responded with some pertinent information that the president may have been missing. "And he wasn't very popular then", Mr Trump said. His license to box was suspended in NY the same day, and his title stripped; other boxing commissions followed.

In this November 2009 file photo, President Bush presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to boxer Muhammad Ali in the East Room of the White House.

After a long battle with Parkinson's disease Muhammad Ali died in 2016. But they know a lot of things that we're not going to know.

Trump has also floated a possible pardon for TV personality Martha Stewart and potentially commuting the sentence of former IL governor Rod Blagojevich, who was convicted on corruption charges in 2011.

Trump later told reporters that he wants to try to amend his feud with athletes who kneel during the National Anthem by meeting them half-way.