Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Others Wear Hoodies to Support Justice for Trayvon Martin
I continue to be completely consumed by the murder of 17 year old Trayvon Martin down in Florida. Although the case has gotten plenty of coverage, there’s still sooo many people who either don’t know or don’t understand why it’s a big deal to many of us. Earlier this week, CNN’s Roland Martin (who I normally can barely tolerate) starting calling out some athletes and rappers in Florida asking why they had not spoken out. Normally I’m indifferent as to whether celebs talk about something but in this case I see where it’s important. I also see where calling them out gives a good reason to say something they may have been thinking about anyway but may have been reluctant to speak out about preferring to avoid potential backlash or a misstatement.
That’s why I was glad that Lebron James tweeted this photo of the Miami Heat:
This photo was very moving to me because I didn’t expect it nor do I think that black athletes or black people period should be the only ones expected to publicly oppose someone getting away with stalking and murdering a black child (or anyone for that matter!). I think Lebron and the Heat did a wonderful thing here because truthfully it feels good to see black folks with a platform stick up for those who don’t have one (yes I’m aware not all Heat players are black, even better!). Wade mentioned that he was glad Martin took him to task. I thought that was interesting given the fact that Wade’s girlfriend Gabrielle Union had been tweeting about Trayvon for a week while Wade remained silent. For what it’s worth that follows the common theme of women being much more vocal in general about these sorts of things. Wade is now wearing a hoodie in his twitter avatar.
It was also very cool to see some of the writers who were spotted donning hoodies in their profile photos like Jim Trotter from Sports Illustrated, Aaron Nagler from Bleacher Report, and ESPN ‘s Michael Wright, Trey Wingo, and Jean-Jacques Taylor as well Bleacher Report’s Michael Schottey and Newsday’s Rod Boone. I’m sure there were many others but this is the much-appreciated short list. I also noticed SI’s Richard Deitsch retweeting articles on Trayvon and asking for recommendations of reporters who were covering the case thoroughly. Sometimes you can make a statement without being explicit…and in this case I appreciate even the smallest gestures from those who aren’t tasked with covering social issues. Because of Deitsch’s tweets a few more people are informed and that matters to me.
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One of the reasons seeing support for Trayvon in the sports community is important is because race is one of those topics that if you even mention it people accuse you of all sorts of things–from being a racist yourself to being obsessed with race or, the best of all, wanting something from white folks. The hoodie avatar was an invitation to have others ask questions about Trayvon rather than forcing guys whose main job is talk about sports into a touchy discussion that rarely leaves anyone feeling better about the future of race relations. If you saw Bomani Jones’ timeline this morning then you know exactly what I’m talking about.