The following is a list of FBI files on different sports figures throughout the decades.
Declassified Sports Figure FBI Files
|Ali, Muhammad – Clay, Cassius – [939 Pages, 236.6MB] – Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.; January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016) was an American professional boxer and activist. He is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century. From early in his career, Ali was known as an inspiring, controversial, and polarizing figure both inside and outside the ring. As a Muslim, Ali was initially affiliated with Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam (NOI) and advocated their black separatist ideology. He later disavowed the NOI, adhering initially to Sunni Islam and later to Sufism, and supporting racial integration, like his former mentor Malcolm X. After retiring from boxing in 1981, Ali devoted his life to religious and charitable work. In 1984, Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s syndrome, which his doctors attributed to boxing-related brain injuries. As the condition worsened, Ali made limited public appearances and was cared for by his family until his death on June 3, 2016, in Scottsdale, Arizona.|
|Granatelli, Anthony “Andy” – [12 Pages, 1.7MB] – Anthony “Andy” Granatelli (March 18, 1923 – December 29, 2013) was an American businessman, most prominent as the CEO of STP (motor oil company) as well as a major figure in automobile racing events. Granatelli was born in Dallas, Texas. Along with his brothers Vince and Joe, he first worked as an auto mechanic and “speed-shop” entrepreneur, modifying engines such as the “flathead” Ford into racing-quality equipment. During World War II, he became a promoter of automobile racing events, such as the “Hurricane Racing Association,” which combined racing opportunities for up-and-coming drivers with crowd-pleasing theatrics. Hurricane events, according to Granatelli in his autobiography They Call Me Mister 500, included drivers who were experts at executing—and surviving—roll-over and end-over-end crashes, and also an ambulance that not only got caught up into the race but also ejected a stretcher (with a dummy on it) into the way of the racers.|
|Johnson, Jack Arthur – FBI “Vault” Release – [135 Pages, 11.7MB]
Johnson, Jack Arthur – FBI Release #2 (Cross References) – [17 Pages, 11.7MB]
John Arthur Johnson (March 31, 1878 – June 10, 1946), nicknamed the Galveston Giant, was an American boxer who, at the height of the Jim Crow era, became the first African American world heavyweight boxing champion (1908–1915). Among the period’s most dominant champions, Johnson remains a boxing legend, with his 1910 fight against James J. Jeffries dubbed the “fight of the century.” In 1912, Johnson was arrested on charges of violating the Mann Act—forbidding one to transport a woman across state lines for “immoral purposes”—a racially motivated charge that embroiled him in controversy for his relationships, including marriages, with white women. According to filmmaker Ken Burns, “for more than thirteen years, Jack Johnson was the most famous and the most notorious African-American on Earth”. Johnson died in a car crash on June 10, 1946, at the age of 68. He is buried at Graceland Cemetery in Chicago. In 2018, he was pardoned by President Donald Trump.
|Johnson, Rocky– [13 Pages, 1.5MB] – Rocky Johnson (born Wayde Douglas Bowles; August 24, 1944 – January 15, 2020) was a Canadian professional wrestler. Among many National Wrestling Alliance titles, he was the first black Georgia Heavyweight Champion. He won the World Tag Team Championship in 1983, along with his partner Tony Atlas, to become the first black champions in WWE history. He is the father of actor and former WWE wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.|
|Kelly, John Simms “Shipwreck” [124 Pages, 69.7MB] – John Simms “Shipwreck” Kelly (July 8, 1910 – August 17, 1986) was a professional American football player who played halfback in the National Football League; he was also an owner and banker, most prominent in New York City in the 1930s and 1940s. He played five seasons for the New York Giants (1932) and the Brooklyn Dodgers (1933–1937). Kelly became a player-coach and later a player/coach/owner with the Dodgers football club, the successor to the Dayton Triangles, a charter member of the NFL. He gained his nickname from Alvin “Shipwreck” Kelly, who was famous for pole-sitting in the 1920s. During World War II, Kelly was recruited by the FBI to travel to Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Chile and Argentina to track the activities of wealthy German expatriates helping the Nazi cause.|
|Paterno, Joe [872 Pages, 36.48MB] – Joseph Vincent “Joe” Paterno, sometimes referred to as “JoePa,” was an American college football coach who was the head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions from 1966 to 2011. His career ended with his dismissal from the team for his role in the Penn State child sex abuse scandal.|
|Ponomaryova, Nina [9 Pages, 2.4MB] – Nina Apollonovna Ponomaryova (Russian: Нина Аполлоновна Пономарёва; née Romashkova; Russian: Ромашкова; 27 April 1929 – 19 August 2016) was a Russian discus thrower and the first Soviet Olympic champion. In 1952 she was a member of the Soviet team, which participated in the Olympic Games for the first time in history. At that time the Olympic record was held since 1936 Summer Olympics by Gisela Mauermayer at 47.63 m. Ponomaryova won the qualifying round with a throw of 45.05 m (36 m was enough to qualify). In the final, after the first try Ponomaryova was second with a throw of 45.16 m, the leader being her teammate Nina Dumbadze (45.85 m). In the second try Ponomaryova improved the Olympic record by more than 3 metres (50.84 m). After that she was the leader until the end of the competition. In the third try she set the Olympic record at 51.42 m and earned the first Olympic gold medal for the Soviet Union. Less than a month after the 1952 Summer Olympics, on 9 August 1952 in Odessa Ponomaryova set a new world record at 53.61 m. In 1954 she won a European title, and in 1956 an Olympic bronze medal. In 1957 she was awarded the Order of the Red Banner. In 1960 Ponomaryova became an Olympic champion for the second time. Soon after that she finished her career and worked as a coach in Kiev and later in Moscow.|
|Resnick, Irving [366 Pages, 15.90MB] – Irving “Ash” Resnick (1916-1989) was a Las Vegas casino executive and sports promoter. This release consists of FBI investigative files covering the years 1961 to 1975. Over this period, the Bureau investigated Resnick on a number of allegations concerning potential illegal gambling and racketeering violations; it also investigated a 1974 attempt to kill Resnick.|
|Robinson, Jackie[132 Pages, 9MB] – Jackie Robinson made history as the first African-American to play baseball in the Major Leagues when he signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946. Mr. Robinson was never the subject of an FBI investigation; however, his name came to the attention of the FBI as a result of his National Association for the Advancement of Colored People membership. In 1949, he testified before the House Committee on Un-American Activities during the hearings regarding Communist Infiltration of Minority Groups.|
|Steinbrenner, George [960 Pages, 44.32MB] – George Michael Steinbrenner, III (1930-2010) is best known as the principal owner and managing partner of the New York Yankees for 37 years. This release contains material from three files covering illegal campaign contributions made by Steinbrenner and his company to the Nixon presidential campaign; a laboratory analysis for the Federal Highway Administration of several anonymous letters concerning possible fraud in the federal aid highway program in Ohio; and Steinbrenner’s appeal for a pardon from his conviction for illegal campaign financing and obstruction of justice.|