First of all... just because you can run fast and play football and have name recognition doesn't make you an automatic leader or thinker of the community. And the "who would've stood with Muhammad Ali" question... just wrong. And this thing about trashing Kobe out of the blue on television... just wtf? Because Kobe was brought up in Italy?
In retrospect, the whole Muhammad Ali anti-war thing seems like a total nonstarter. YES the war was bad and YES standing up against the war was great. But from the present day it's easy to see that the whole event was hijacked by the Black Muslim movement, which now seems like it was an attempt to radicalize minority population groups in our country into religious extremism. (I'd highly recommend the 2012 Joe Frazier HBO documentary by the way). This push toward religious extremism was probably funded from outside the US, and had the effect of hardening racial prejudice and scaring "white" folks in America, by combining foreign religious culture and rhetoric with african-americanism and essentially making the two things seem the same--which they never, ever were. It was like a PR nightmare for african amerianism and probably set the movement back 20 years. This persists to this day (see also: Fox News vs Barack Obama), even though something like 99.9% of black folks in America are Christian or spiritual/other and have never bought in to the radical Farrakhan type of racial rhetoric at all. And post 9/11 public awareness of religious extremism is far greater: America is an increasingly secular nation, and poll after poll shows that people across the board want to move beyond racism toward harmony. Groups that (literally) call themselves "black" or "white", whether they are religious extremist or not, do not help that cause.
I mean just imagine if instead of Muhammad Ali, it had been Cassius Clay lining up in the tradition of Martin Luther King to speak out for racial equality and for ending the war in Viet Nam. The war might've ended years earlier, and racial harmony might've been far closer at hand in America; instead the media moment was hijacked by a bunch of mean looking guys in bow ties and black suits and dark glasses staring at every body violently and saying mean angry words things and threatening American culture with everything from foreign religious doctrines to race war, to the separation of the races and to outright revolution.
And for Jim Brown to now, in 2013, invoke all that kind of fumbling foolishness and hostile racial imagery and try to question anybody's manhood or Americanism on the basis of whether or not they would've stood behind Muhammad Ali... *ugh* really?
I think Jim Brown is a good actor and I like his movies, however he is WAY off base with these recent comments. If he is truly the awesome alpha male father figure that he seems to be representing then he owes it to himself to think all these issues through more deeply and to clarify his views for his followers or admirers, so that we can move past racism and racial distrust or divisions in America.