Kobe Bryant was recently asked byThe New Yorker magazine to weigh in on a widely publicized Miami Heat photo where the team posed in hoodies to show their support for the late Trayvon Martin and his family.
Bryant’s comments have been interpreted by some as an insult to the reigning NBA champions.
“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.”
Bryant was quickly pounced on by commentators on social media.
“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,” tweeted Grio columnist Goldie Taylor.
“My issue is that Kobe reduces the Trayvon Martin outrage to blind racial solidarity, when it was about so much more than that,” added ESPN commentator Jemele Hill.
Bryant has yet to respond to the backlash towards his remarks.