Trayvon Martin Reaches The Sports Pages–And Online Hoaxes

By Arturo R. García

As the Trayvon Martin case continued to reverberate around the country’s consciousness this past weekend, the calls for justice reached the sports realm, as well.

Courtesy LeBron James, via Twitter

Courtesy Huffington Post

On Friday, various pro basketball players spoke out in favor of justice for Martin, the 17-year-old Florida teen shot and killed by neighborhood-watch volunteer George Zimmerman. The Miami Heat (shown above) tweeted pictures of itself wearing hoodies, with LeBron James specifically tweeting, “#WeAreTrayvonMartin.” James’ teammate, Dwyane Wade, also posted a picture of himself in a hoodie. They were soon joined by colleagues like Phoenix’s Steve Nash, and Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks. Some Heat players also wore dedications to Trayvon on their sneakers during their games on Friday and Sunday, which prompted a message of thanks from his father, Tracy Martin.

“I saw a post that D-Wade had saying, ‘I am Trayvon Martin,’” Tracy Martin told the Associated Press. “To see all these athletes put Trayvon in the same sentence with them, it feels real good. Trayvon was an excellent athlete and if he could hear them saying his name, he would be so moved by it.”

Other sports figures are expected to lend their voices to the Martin family’s cause today, as NBA Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing and Ray Lewis of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens are reportedly scheduled to join Jesse Jackson in attending a City Commission meeting in Sanford, FL, where Trayvon was killed last month. More than 8,000 people attended a Friday rally in Sanford calling for Zimmerman’s arrest. Trayvon’s parents are also expected to speak at the meeting.

ESPN, which normally finds itself just covering athletic figures off the field, found itself getting looped into this story, as it went from barring editorial staff from wearing hoodies in support of Trayvon on Saturday to reversing course the next day.

Meanwhile, another celebrity found herself getting linked to the Trayvon story by mistake. After reports broke out about Kim Kardashian getting flour thrown on her Thursday night, the incident became part of a meme fueled by celebrity parody accounts:

However, as Kathy McGill, an undergraduate journalism teacher at the University of Washington learned while tracing the meme, Kardashian didn’t even press charges against her attacker. But that hoax wasn’t as distasteful as this appeal by “Will Ferrell”:

Indeed, a quick search reveals that Ferrell does not have a verified Twitter account, but there’s plenty of parodies out there. There is a Will Smith account on Twitter, though; actually, there’s quite a few–including a defensive end for the New Orleans Saints, a British comedian, and a news editor in Connecticut–but none directly connected to the actor.

Anyone wishing to leave certified donations for Tracy Martin and Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, to help cover their legal costs, are encouraged to visit this site established by their attorneys. A rally has been scheduled for Monday in Sanford at 4 p.m. EST at Centennial Park.

Update: An earlier version of this post had misspelled Tracy Martin’s last name. It has since been corrected.