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NBA Laker Kobe Bryant set off a firestorm of criticism when, during an interview with the New Yorker, he said he felt it inappropriate to rally around Trayvon Martin just because he’s black. The admission came after Bryant was asked about his feelings regarding how the Miami Heat rallied around the slain teen. Now that there’s been significant outcry to Bryant’s comments, the baller is defending himself with a Martin Luther King Jr. quote. Here’s what Bryant posted to his Instagram:
In case you missed the controversy, here’s what Bryant said that drew the ire of critics:
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.
Former running back Jim Brown was the first to note that Kobe Bryant was somewhat aloof to issues impacting African-Americans due to having lived abroad. Appearing on the Arsenio Hall Show, Brown said of Bryant:
“He’s somewhat confused about our culture. Because he was brought up in another country…If I had to invite people to that [black athlete] summit all over,” Brown said, referring to a summit held in the early 70s, “there’d be some athletes I wouldn’t call. He’d be one of them.”