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Mike Tyson
The controversy over whether the Boxing Commission should license him to fight in the District of Columbia
February 2002




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Greater Washington Board of Trade statement National Organization for Women statement
Alpha Estes Brown petition Councilmember Harold Brazil

The Greater Washington Board of Trade

February 19, 2002

The Honorable Anthony A. Williams 
Mayor of the District of Columbia 
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW 
Washington, DC 20004

Dear Mayor Williams:

At this morning's board meeting, the Board of Directors of the Greater Washington Board of Trade expressed deep concerns about the prospect of our city allowing the Tyson-Lewis Fight to take place in the District of Columbia. It is our understanding that you have stated that you will stand aside from any decision that the Boxing & Wrestling Commission makes in this matter. Our board members emphatically stated that such an event does not fit with all of the combined efforts of your administration, the neighborhoods and the business community to improve the perceptions of our city in the national and world view.

Mr. Mayor, having just returned from the wholesome atmosphere of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, you understand better than anyone how much time and hard work it takes for a city to protect its image so that future possibilities become present opportunities. We in the business community are very proud of all the work your administration has done to improve the image of the District and the Washington region, and we expect to support those efforts in the months to come.

Nevertheless, we respectfully disagree with the position you have taken with respect to the Boxing Commission's decision. Notwithstanding the economic benefit that might come from hosting such an event, we believe that the response of leaders in other jurisdictions -- California, Texas, Michigan, Georgia, England, Denmark and the Netherlands -- are appropriate. We hope you will exercise your leadership position and reject the Boxing Commission's decision in the long-term interests of our community.

Linda Rabbitt 

cc: The Honorable Linda Cropp, Chair of the Council of the District of Columbia

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Media Relations Office 
733 15th Street, NW, Second Floor 
Washington, DC 20005 
phone 202-628-8669 fax 202-785-8576 
e-mail press@now.org web www.now.org 

FEBRUARY 19, 2002


"I'm appalled that the D.C. Boxing Commission granted Mike Tyson a license to box in the District. And I'm outraged that Mayor Anthony Williams supported the license, even going so far as to say that a Tyson fight could have a 'very positive impact on the city'," said National Organization for Women (NOW) Membership Vice President Terry O'Neill. "Allowing a convicted rapist someone charged with numerous counts of abuse and other violence to headline an event in the nation's capital is an insult to women everywhere. A Tyson fight would certainly not have a positive impact on local rape and abuse survivors."

Texas, Nevada and Colorado all denied Tyson a boxing license. Though the Georgia Boxing Commission granted Tyson a license, state Governor Roy Barner opposed the action, calling Tyson a "sexual predator".

"I encourage D.C. Mayor Williams to reverse his position and follow the example of Georgia's governor," O'Neill said.

In 1991 Tyson was convicted of rape for which he served a meager three year sentence. In 1997 he bit off a piece of fellow boxer Evander Holyfield's ear. Nevada authorities are currently investigating rape allegations against Tyson from November 2000 and September 2001, and are recommending that charges be filed for the most recent count.

"NOW recognizes the large number of hotel and restaurant workers who lost their jobs after tourism declined post-September 11," O'Neill said. "Despite hard economic times, a violent sex offender should not be portrayed as the hero for D.C.'s laid-off workers."

"Mayor Williams and his administration need to be looking for less polarizing and more women- friendly, family-friendly ways to bring revenue to the city," O'Neill said. "Surely Mayor Williams does not want to be known for turning a blind eye to violence against women."

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Petition being circulated (in various versions by Rev. Alpha Estes Brown, Community United Methodist Church, AlphaBrown@aol.com 


We the undersigned persons of faith in Jesus Christ and of non-violence respectfully request that the proposed fight between Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis be denied licensure in this our Nation’s Capital. At this point in his life, Mr. Michael Tyson exemplifies unacceptable self-restraint and violence against women and men. We wish Mr. Tyson success in changing his life for the good inside and outside of the ring but see it a critical priority to oppose this matter for the sake of our children.

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Harold Brazil - DC Councilmember At-Large

Press Release

1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 404 Washington, D.C., 20004 (202) 724-8174

February 19, 2002

Contact: Jessica White
(202) 724-7782

Tyson and Lewis
To DC, or Not to DC; That is the Question

DC Councilman Harold Brazil, (D-At Large) today commended the D.C. Boxing and Wrestling Commission’s decision to move forward on Tyson’s application to fight Lennox Lewis on June 8 at the MCI Center. 

Brazil, Chairman of the Council’s Committee on Economic Development, stated, “I support the Lewis-Tyson bout because it will demonstrate that Washington is an exciting destination, a fast emerging “sportstown,” and because to promotes economic development by generating millions of dollar.”

Brazil continued, “World Class Boxing, Grand Prix Style Auto Racing, Major League Baseball, and then the Summer Olympics - the sky is the limit for Washington; Washington is the place to be,” he said, and, “I want the hotels, restaurants and taxis filled to capacity, and the revenue to boot.”

Brazil concluded without any “biting” comments but hoped that in view of Lewis’ loquaciousness, both fighters would keep their mouths shut!

The D.C. Boxing and Wrestling Commission is comprised of three members. Its vote is viewed as the most critical step in the licensing process. The vote was unanimous.

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