As you probably know, George Zimmerman was found not guilty of second degree murder and manslaughter. The death of Trayvon Martin could not be proven to be anything other than self-defense, and because of that the ‘Stand Your Ground’ clause in Florida made his retaliation perfectly legal.
The all woman jury took 15 hours of deliberation over two days before finally reaching a unanimous decision in the fatal shooting that resulted in the death of 17 year old Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012.
As a nation, we were captivated by this case from the beginning, people on both sides openly argued their opinion through any media they could find. News constantly talked about it, but all one had to do to learn the latest updates was log on to Facebook or Twitter to find a raging debate between their friends.
Athletes are no different than the rest of us, throughout the trial athletes shared their views with us, such as the Miami Heat posing in hoodies to show support for Trayvon and his family.
The strong feelings people had in this case didn’t go away with the reading of the verdict, as athletes from all over stormed to their computers and smart phones to Tweet out their emotions following the reading of the juries decision.
Some posts were vulgar, such as those by Roddy White and Victor Cruz of the NFL.
All them jurors should go home tonight and kill themselves for letting a grown man get away with killing a kid
— Roddy White (@roddywhiteTV) July 14, 2013
Fucking Zimmerman got away with murder today wow what kind of world do we live in — Roddy White (@roddywhiteTV) July 14, 2013
Cruz tweeted that “Zimmerman doesn’t last a year til the hood catches up to him” but later deleted the post.
Many athletes reacted to the verdict of Zimmerman’s innocence by expressing sympathy towards Trayvon Martin and his family.
These tears right now in my eyes are for Trayvon’s family, for my nephews for my unborn son(God willing one day) this is so hard to bare!
— Swin Cash (@SwinCash) July 14, 2013
WoW!!! Prayers out to the Martin family… — Chris Paul (@CP3) July 14, 2013
Other athletes were confused as to how the Zimmerman verdict could have been what it was.
How do I explain this to my young boys????
— THREE (@DwyaneWade) July 14, 2013
Praying for the Martin family ….. Smh … — Aj Green (@ajgreen_18) July 14, 2013
Wow!!! Stunned!!! Saddened as a father!!! Some1 make sense of this verdict for me right now please!!! Don’t worry I’ll wait… — THREE (@DwyaneWade) July 14, 2013
George Zimmerman not guilty can u believe that. Wow — SHAQ (@SHAQ) July 14, 2013
Watched a lot of the case…though manslaughter was a definite! Thinking about everyone involved especially the Martin family — Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) July 14, 2013
Doesn’t make sense to me! & just to be real…in this world we live in I guess it doesn’t have to make sense.
— Adrian Peterson (@AdrianPeterson) July 14, 2013
Changing the legal system as a result of this verdict was a theme many athletes publicized on Twitter.
Instead of rage & anger, let’s direct that emotion towards a positive movement. Like education, poverty & black on black crime in the hood. — Donte’ Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) July 14, 2013
Damn, Plaxico Burress shot HIMSELF and got 2 yrs! This dude shot and killed another. Yet, he’s going home to his sleep number mattress. — STVN (@StevieJohnson13) July 14, 2013
The world is showing its colors everyday, why be outraged today… just to wake up tomorrow and doing nothing CONSTRUCTIVE about it? #Reform — Royce White (@Highway_30) July 14, 2013
Our justice system is broken! Attorneys skills are deciding cases, might as well be sport, theatre. Justice should be more thorough. #Reform — Royce White (@Highway_30) July 14, 2013
Racial Prejudice was prevalent in many athlete’s posts regarding George Zimmerman and the court’s ruling.
Racism is still alive, people can say some really ignorant things — Eric LeGrand (@EricLeGrand52) July 14, 2013
Preventing violence from resulting from the decision, and urging rational behavior to prevail was another sentiment commonly expressed by athletes in the aftermath of the verdict.
I get if you’re mad about the verdict. I don’t get going out and looting/rioting 5min from where you live. Be constructive not destructive — Jonathan Vilma (@JonVilma51) July 14, 2013
Also as mad as a lot of people are over the verdict…trying to take out Zimmerman isn’t the answer neither
— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) July 14, 2013
Rioting isn’t going to change anything people
— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) July 14, 2013
Did the jury get it right? I can’t answer that question.. But a kid lost his life and it all could have been prevented.
— TJ Lang (@TJLang70) July 14, 2013
Athletes reacted much like the rest of us following the verdict being read in the trial of George Zimmerman. The posts of the athletes supporting the verdict were largely absent, but it kind of makes sense that those upset would be more motivated to post. The sentiments expressed carry the same range of emotions that the national as a whole was experiencing in the aftermath of the trial.
Although this has nothing to do with sports, it shows us that we are all not so different. Even though athletes are superstars they can not help but voice their two cents on a trial as captivating as this one proved to be for our nation.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express