5 Things Kobe Bryant’s Trayvon Martin Quote Didn’t Say


Here’s a disclaimer for anyone who reads quick posts from today’s era of instant news: Sometimes context is compromised for clickthroughs.

Recently, sports, hip hop culture and urban news sounded off on Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant for his quote regarding the Miami Heat and their support for slain teen Trayvon Martin. The Heat decided to show solidarity with the Martin family, posting a picture of themselves in hoody’s on LeBron James’s Instagram page. Bryant’s backlash came when writer Ben McGrath from the magazine The New Yorker, asked Bryant his opinion in his latest profile piece on the star and he replied:

“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.”

Martin’s case remains an example of injustice and a flawed system that didn’t protect the rights of an innocent child. However, in regards to what Bryant said, most public reactions were quick and formed before reading the entire the story (the full piece had yet to hit newsstands). In other words, the public didn’t know the setting, the questions leading to that question or, most importantly, how Bryant felt about the case itself (remember, he was asked about the picture, not about the case’s outcome). Since some of the smoke has cleared, lets examine some of the context lost from quick posts.