Says Cassius Sr., Everett's brother: "He didn't die, he got rid of hisself. The smartest one in the family, he died at 28, got rid of hisself. My daddy said Everett was too smart. He was a mathematician. He went to college and he led all the way through. But he was insanely jealous."
A Louisville schoolteacher who lived a few doors from the elder Clays talks about the dead brother: "Everett Clay was a wild man. He didn't care how big you were, he'd fight, and he wasn't big himself at all. Strange man. Wore his hair long. He'd just fly into people." According to the schoolteacher, Everett and his wife both died violently.
One of the first to realize that a tinge of violence may have touched the home life of young Cassius Clay was Patrolman Joe Martin of the Louisville Police Department, the boy's first boxing coach. "It wasn't long before I knew the kid was scared to death of his father," Martin recalls. "I never got involved, but the fact I was a police officer must have bothered the old man. Years later, when Cassius was 18, we were all at Wilson Wyatt's office in Louisville to sign a contract for me to manage Cassius and train him. One of the lawyers took me aside and said, 'I hate to tell you this, but old man Clay will not sign any contract with your name on it.' I said, 'Way, what's he got against me?' and the lawyer said, 'Either it's because he thinks you've done something for his son that he couldn't do or because you're a police officer.' Later I read that the old man didn't like cops in general and me in particular."
The Clay family signed later with the Louisville Sponsoring Group, 11 wealthy citizens who took Cassius on almost as an act of civic pride. One of the original members of the group recalls an unpleasant note at the signing: "There was Rudy, Cassius and Mrs. Clay, all dolled up. We said, 'Are you ready?'
"And she said, 'Well, Cassius Sr. isn't here.' And we said we'd wait a few minutes, and we waited and he didn't show. So we said we would have to go ahead without the father.
"And Mrs. Clay said, 'Oh, no, I couldn't do that.'
" 'Why not?'
" 'Oh, he wants to be here.'
" 'Well, where is he?'
" 'Well, I don't know.'