Kobe Bryant is taking heat on Twitter after telling the New Yorker that African-Americans shouldn’t immediately rush to the defense of a black person on the basis of race alone. The Los Angeles Lakers star was referring to the Miami Heat’s support for Trayvon Martin by wearing hoodies.
The Heat, who represent the same state where Trayvon, 17, was killed by community watchman George Zimmerman in February 2012, posed for a picture wearing hoodies -- the article of clothing that became a symbol of the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman story (Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera suggested that Trayvon was killed because he was wearing the hoodie.) In a tribute to Trayvon, the Miami Heat posed for a photo wearing hoodies.
While speaking about the Trayvon case and the Heat’s response, Bryant said the rush to defend the teenager, who was unarmed when he was killed by Zimmerman, demonstrated that African-Americans haven’t “progressed as a society.”
“I won’t react to something just because I’m supposed to, because I’m an African-American,” Bryant told the New Yorker’s Ben McGrath in the March 31 issue of the magazine. “That argument doesn’t make any sense to me. So we want to advance as a society and a culture, but, say, if something happens to an African-American we immediately come to his defense? Yet you want to talk about how far we’ve progressed as a society? Well, we’ve progressed as a society, then don’t jump to somebody’s defense just because they’re African-American. You sit and you listen to the facts just like you would in any other situation, right? So I won’t assert myself.”
The comments didn’t sit well with observers on social media. Some said it showed Bryant was out of touch with the African-American community.
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Reading Kobe's alleged comments about Trayvon Martin. Just seems 2 be a guy not interested in what goes on in the real world.
â€” Andrew Skinner Jr (@DrewSkinnerjrmd) March 27, 2014
Kobe could've just shouted out love for Trayvon's parents, said he couldn't imagine their loss and kept it breezy. He didn't.
â€” Goldie Taylor (@goldietaylor) March 27, 2014
Even if some Twitter users agreed with Bryant’s philosophy, they said Trayvon’s situation wasn’t the right example to offer.
I get the point that Kobe was making but making that statement in the context of the Trayvon situation....nah bruh
â€” 12 Years A Savage (@T__Hill) March 27, 2014
I see what Kobe was trying to say but he used a bad example to make his point. Trayvon Martin's death was much bigger than "just" color.
â€” Ryan Clark (@Realrclark25) March 27, 2014
I agree with what kobe tryna say overall... but specifically the trayvon case was one to stand up for
â€” Mike Lowrey (@mikeydred14) March 27, 2014