In an interview with the New Yorker, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant said he didn't think he should give comments about the shooting of Trayvon Martin just because he's African-American, a comment that rubbed some people the wrong way.
When asked about the Miami Heat's support of the family of 17-year-old Martin, who was shot to death last year while walking through a gated community in Sanford, Fla.
Bryant said he didn't think he should make comments based solely upon his race.
Bryant's statement sparked a social media firestorm both for and against what the basketball player said.
“I won’t react to something just because I’m supposed to, because I’m an African-American,” Bryant said. “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.”
Najee Ali, director of Project Islamic H.O.P.E. called for a boycott of all Bryant merchandise.
“African-American youth should no longer buy Bryant’s jerseys or shoes and should boycott all products he endorses,” Ali said in a statement. “Bryant doesn’t identify with the struggle that our African-American youth face nationally. So why should we continue to support Bryant who has never truly identified with the African American experience.”
The Black Conservatives Twitter account came down in support of Bryant.
Nothing was wrong w/ Kobe Bryant's statement. The only thing wrong was he was telling the truth. Illuminati mess all over the Trayvon case.— Black Conservatives (@BAConservatives) March 28, 2014
Meanwhile, Bryant took to Twitter on Thursday to officially make a comment on the Martin shooting.
[Cleveland Plain-Dealer] [Fox News]