Sports World Reacts to Death of US Senator John McCain

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 26, 2018

FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2017 file photo, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., leaves a closed-door session on Capitol Hill in Washington. A possible U.S. Senate vacancy in Arizona would be temporarily filled by a Republican appointee in the event of the death of Sen. John McCain, who is battling cancer, but it's unclear whether an election would be held in November or 2020. Arizona law requires the governor to appoint someone of the same political party if there is a vacancy. The seat will then be on the ballot for the next general election, but there's conflicting views on whether that means this fall or in 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

Longtime United States senator and former Republican presidential candidate John McCain died Saturday.

He was 81.

A boxer in the Naval Academy in the 1950s, McCain was instrumental in the passing of the Muhammad Ali Act, a law designed to protect the health and financial welfare of boxers. He was also a proponent of pardoning former heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, which President Donald Trump did earlier this year.

"He was important in everything in boxing—Jack Johnson, the Ali Act," promoter Bob Arum said of McCain, per Dan Rafael of ESPN.com. "He was the boxing senator, along with [former Nevada Sen.] Harry Reid."

Arum went on to call McCain a "great American" who always insisted on not getting special treatment. 

"He'd come to a lot of fights," Arum said. "We'd always put him in the commission seats, and he'd always insist on paying for the tickets. I couldn't take the money because it wasn't [charged], so we took the money, added some on our own and gave it to charity. He'd pay $1,000, $5,000. He insisted on paying.

"He was a great American. I didn't agree with him a lot. He was too conservative for me, but you respected him because he believed in those things, and he was the only guy who would go across the aisle and make deals with Democrats."

Other figures across the sports world also took to social media expressing their condolences:

Arizona Diamondbacks @Dbacks

Goodbye to an American hero, one we were lucky enough to call a loyal fan. Rest in peace, Senator John McCain. Our thoughts are with your family and loved ones. https://t.co/KIMZS1w7Pq

Larry Fitzgerald @LarryFitzgerald

Rest in peace to an American hero, statesman, servant of the people, and dear friend. Godspeed Senator McCain. My prayers for Cindy and the beautiful McCain family. https://t.co/Tj87Hb8MtY

Phoenix Suns @Suns

You’ll be missed, Senator McCain. https://t.co/2qMYmFciJm

Dale Earnhardt Jr. @DaleJr

Rest In Peace Senator John McCain. What an incredibly full life he lived. I appreciate his lifelong dedication and service to this country. 🇺🇸

Lauri Markkanen @MarkkanenLauri

Rest In peace @SenJohnMcCain, I will forever be grateful for you helping a kid from Finland get a visa to live out my dream of playing basketball in the States

McCain served as a senator in the state of Arizona from 1987 until his death. He was the Republican nominee in the 2008 presidential race, which he lost to Barack Obama. 

He was awarded the Purple Heart for his military service and was nicknamed "Maverick" for his willingness to cross party lines when he disagreed with his fellow Republicans.