Written by Gino Terrell on July 14, 2013 0 Comments
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“It doesn’t matter where we take a stand, as long as we make one,” Lucy Lawless (actress and activist).

On July 13, the verdict on the Trayvon Martin vs. George Zimmerman case was in. Zimmerman was found not guilty. The verdict sparked and uproar over social media channels as many athletes reacted to the verdict. One was NFL All-Pro Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson. “Zimmerman is a free man but is he really FREE…” Johnson posted via Twitter.

On February 26, 2012, a 17 year old African American named Trayvon Martin was shot by a neighborhood watch captain named George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. It was reported the night of the shooting, Zimmerman called 911 and profiled Martin as “a suspicious person.” He followed Martin in his SUV and eventually after he got out on foot, he eventually shot Martin.

Zimmerman reported he shot Martin in self-defense. However, it was discovered Martin was unarmed and had no possession of any harmful forces which could deploy Zimmerman. Martin wore a grey hooded sweatshirt and carried a pack of Skittles and iced tea, as he was coming from a convenience store.

Later that week, NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade responded to the tragedy by posting a photo of him wearing a hooded sweatshirt on his Facebook and Twitter page. Wade was personally touched by the story because he said it reminded him of his eldest son who wanted a hooded sweatshirt as a Christmas gift. “I’m speaking up because I feel it’s necessary that we get past the stereotype of young, black men and especially with our youth,” he said.

A few hours later, fellow teammate of the Miami Heat LeBron James posted another photo on Twitter that included their entire team wearing hooded sweatshirts. Along with the photo read “#WeAreTrayvonMartin.” Teammate Udonis Haslem spoke out about their stance.

“We just feel like something needed to be done… it’s at least a start in the right direction,” Haslem said.

In fact it was, the message went viral that night. Many others spoke out, including NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony. Anthony too, tweeted a photo of himself wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt with the message “I am Trayvon Martin!!!!!”

On March 22, 2012, Martin’s parents created a petition on Change.org for the arrest of Zimmerman. Over 1.3 million had signed it. The following day President Barack Obama spoke out about the incident.

“If I had a son he’d look like Trayvon. I think they are right to expect that all of us Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves and we’re going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened,” Obama said.

Three days later, March 26, rallies across the nation had started as they rallied for the justice of Martin. In Sanford, the City Commission held their town hall meeting which is where the incident of Martin and its aftermath was discussed. Two weeks later, April 11, Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder.

A year later, on April 30, 2013, the case had been moved from a murder to a self-defense case. Then on July 13, the verdict was in and Zimmerman was found not guilty.

Although the Martin family didn’t get the justice they wanted Trayvon’s father, Tracy Martin, remained upbeat after the verdict and responded on Twitter.

“Even though I am broken hearted my faith is unshattered I WILL ALWAYS LOVE MY BABY TRAY. Thanks to everyone who are with us and who will be with us [see] we together can make sure that this doesn’t happen again. God blessed ME & Sybrina with Tray and even in his death I know my baby proud of the FIGHT we along with all of you put up for him GOD BLESS,” he posted.

Even with the verdict, he felt his supporters were successful because they banded together and took a stand about murder they felt was unjust and based on racial profiling.

Among the many athletes that were appalled and frustrated with the verdict a few were supportive and respected the final decision.

“I hope people have enough #respect for the system to let it be and not cause unneeded violence #ZimmermanTrial,” tweeted NBA Player Sean May.

MLB Athlete Bryan Peterson felt the same way as well and responded on Twitter. “If you trusted the justice system to find a man guilty, you must trust it when it finds a man not guilty, or it’s just partiality you seek,” he posted.

NFL Quarterback Michael Vick didn’t agree with the verdict but did feel that people needed to avoid trying to take the situation in their own hands.

“I feel bad for the Martin Fam. We have a long way to go in America but please yall don’t do anything stupid. Let God be the final judge,” he tweeted.

However, there was one athlete that saw this situation differently and felt that there was more to this trial than just the verdict.

“I hope everyone can see the BIGGER picture [of] this trial … his story was heard, his voice was heard RIP Trayvon Benjamin Martin,” NFL Athlete Da’Quan Bowers tweeted.

One way or the other, athletes took a stand on the Martin case.