In the post-Jordan sports scene, American athletes don’t take a stand on anything remotely political. There aren’t any Muhammad Alis or Jim Browns out there, going hard in public for social causes and racial injustice. The modern-day athlete, to borrow a phrase from Walt Clyde Frazier, is all about “winnin & grinnin” all the way to the bank.
That’s why I tip my hat to the NBA’s Miami Heat for the political statement they made today. Lebron James tweeted the above photo with the caption: “#WeAreTrayvonMartin #Hoodies #Stereotyped #WeWantJustice.” The entire team wore hoodies in support of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed young black man killed by racist neighborhood watchdog George Zimmerman.
17-year old Trayvon was wearing a hoodie (which in addition to being black, allegedly made him look “suspicious”) when he was killed by Zimmerman, who is nothing more than a paranoid, overzealous vigilante. Trayvon, a straight-A student returning from the store after buying candy to eat during the NBA All-Star game, was guilty of nothing more than strolling through the neighborhood. Of course, since African-Americans are viewed as a sub-human species, Zimmerman was never charged with a crime or even questioned by police. I’m not going to go into further detail ‘cuz you’re probably well-informed about this tragic crime by now… plus, I’ll only get angrier.
Shout out to the Miami Heat. I’m a die-hard Knicks fan and the Heat are our sworn enemies but I’m proud of them for taking a stand. In a time where commercials and endorsements are a professional athlete’s lifeblood, it’s refreshing to see a few of them publicly speak out for the communities from which they came.