John McCain’s Mixed Record In Sports

McCain used his position to investigate sports business.



The debate on John McCain’s effectiveness as a United States Senator from Arizona between 1987 and 2018 will go on. In the sports world, McCain had a mixed record. He supported the revocation of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday in Arizona in 1987. Because of that change, the NFL stripped Arizona of the 1993 Super Bowl. But there was a promise of giving the Phoenix area the big game if Arizona residents said yes in a 1992 referendum to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day an Arizona holiday. Arizona voters said yes and Tempe got the 1996 Super Bowl.

Boxing promotor Bob Arum called John McCain the “Boxing Senator”. McCain helped craft the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act which became law in 2000, which protected fighters from promotors’ and managers’ exploitation particularly in financial areas. Beginning in 2004, McCain had pushed for a President pardon of champion Jack Johnson, which finally happened this past May. Johnson, an African American was convicted by an all-white jury in 1913 for transporting a white woman across state lines for “immoral purposes,” which was illegal under the Mann Act.  McCain was also involved in the 2004-05 Congressional call to clean up the so-called Steroids era in Major League Baseball. In 1999, McCain was looking into the activities of the International Olympic Committee after all the reports surfaced that IOC delegates took bribes as part of the process of awarding the 2002 Winter Olympics to Salt Lake City. McCain pushed for United States Olympic Committee changes. McCain was also concerned with rising cable TV rates in 2002 and the reasons behind the increasing cost of programming, particularly sports programming. Nothing happened though. McCain supported the 1992 federal restriction that allowed just Nevada to have sportsbooks operating. That law was overturned by the Supreme Court in May. McCain was a sports fan.