By now, most people know the case of Trayvon Martin, the Miami teen who was shot to death by an overzealous Neighborhood Watch member three weeks ago in Sanford, Florida. It has made national headlines and thanks to social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook, more and more people have become aware of this unfortunate tragedy.
As is the case with a lot of political/racial issues, athletes have tended to lay low on the Martin tragedy. An occasional tweet here or there, but no real high profile support, until today.
Athletes are often too concerned with their public image to take a stance on any kind of controversial subject. Michael Jordan was famous for rarely taking a stance on anything important. That is why I think the above picture is so cool, the Miami Heat banded together to show their support for Trayvon Martin by taking a picture of the whole team in their hoodies. (Basketball note, Mike Miller is not in the picture because he is injured and did not travel with the team)
Earlier today, Dwyane Wade, whose girlfriend Gabrielle Union has been an outspoken voice in the movemoent, changed his Twitter avi to this.
The interesting thing to note is that the person who orchestrated the team picture was not who you would expect, according to Ethan Skolnick of the Palm Beach Post, it was not Dwyane Wade who got the team to take the picture, it was LeBron James.
It is interesting because LeBron James tried to emulate Jordan to the point that he too never took a stance on anything important. If you remember back during the 2007 NBA Playoffs when he was still with the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron caught some controversy when he refused to sign a petition regarding the Chinese governments alleged involvement in the Darfur Sudan conflict that was being distriubted by teammate Ira Newble. So for him to do this, it is very un-Jordanesque and very very cool.
Of course, cynics and mini-Skips will find some criticism to lob his way. They will probably say he picked an easy stance or he should have done it sooner, but those people just need to sit down and take this for what it is.
A very cool gesture of support for a worthy cause.