You may have heard that Kobe Bryant, who probably needs to make better use of his down time while rehabbing his knee, spoke to The New Yorker about the slaying of Trayvon Martin and the role Bryant’s NBA rival, LeBron James, played in bringing attention to the case in Florida two years ago.
Here’s what Bryant said:
“I won’t react to something just because I’m supposed to, because I’m an African-American. 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.”
Those comments weren’t well received in some circles. For example news pundit Roland Martin, who hosts TVOne’s News One Now morning show. took to Twitter to air his grievances with Kobe’s lack of recognition of what exactly brought the masses to protest. And he went in on Kobe.
The irony of this surfacing is that Roland Martin had gone to Twitter two years ago to exhort NBA players to be more assertive about supporting Trayvon Martin. One of his tweets at the time read: “The young man was trying to get home to watch the NBA all star game. He supported them but they don’t support him.’’
Here’s hoping that this nudges a few more high-profile celebrities toward a little more awareness – or, at least, some recognition that if they don’t want to use their fame as a platform for change, they also don’t use it to show off how much they don’t know.