Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant has found himself in the middle of a social media firestorm after he ruffled feathers with comments he made about the Trayvon Martin case.
During an interview for a profile of the basketball star featured in the April 4 issue of the New Yorker, Bryant had some interesting thoughts on the events surrounding the case that captured national attention. According to Colorlines, he specifically criticized LeBron James and the Miami Heat for posting a photo wearing hoodies in solidarity with the teen’s family.
“I won’t react to something just because I’m supposed to, because I’m an African-American,” he 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.”
But people weren’t happy about Bryant’s sentiments, and they took to Twitter to voice their opinions. News correspondent Roland Martin was among the many critics of the athlete’s comments:
“Remember when @JimBrownNFL32 took heat for blasting @kobebryant? Jim knew what he was talking about. Kobe is clueless about #TrayvonMartin.”
The New Yorker profile mentions the Jim Brown incident Martin referred to. In December 2013, the former NFL running back said Bryant was “somewhat confused about culture, because he was brought up in another country.”
Bryant didn’t let Brown’s comments go without a response then, and he didn’t ignore critiques this time around either. He took to Twitter to defend himself against accusations that he ignored the tragedy of Martin’s death and was ignorant about the case.
“Travon Martin was wronged THATS my opinion and thats what I believe the FACTS showed. The system did not work #myopinion #tweetURthoughts”