There aren’t a lot of critiques made about Michael Jordan. But if there was one area that I recall people having an issue with Jordan, it dealt with his policy of never commenting on political or race matters. Many felt that Jordan’s influence was needed in those areas. It’s not that Jordan didn’t have an opinion on those topics, he was just conscious of how statements on those topics can create controversy.
In a March 31st article in The New Yorker, Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant takes the exact opposite approach when the subject of slain-Florida-teen Trayvon Martin was brought up. Kobe was asked his thoughts on the Miami Heat’s show of solidarity at that time posting a photo of the team wearing black hoodies like Martin wore the night he was murdered.
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.”
I understand the point Kobe was trying to make, but I don’t agree with it. I thought the case first and foremost was about a teenager killed. This statement is an example of what former NFL player Jim Brown was pointing to when he told talk show host, Arsenio Hall that Kobe is somewhat confused about culture.
The piece went on to mention that point as well. Controversy is something Kobe is used to, we’ll see how he rides this brewing storm out.
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) March 27, 2014