George Zimmerman, the killer of Trayvon Martin, apparently is in such need for attention that he is slated to participate in a pay-per-view boxing match on March 1. The man acquitted in the February 2012 shooting death of Trayvon, an unarmed African American 17-year-old, broke the news yesterday through a tweet promoting his interview with RadarOnline.com.
Zimmerman told RadarOnline, “It was my idea.” According to TMZ, it was boxing promoter Damon Feldman who “threw down the challenge, offering George money to step in the ring.” Zimmerman said the proceeds from the fight would go to an animal rescue charity. All that’s needed is an opponent. “We’re not looking at it as a race thing,” Feldman told TMZ in what can only be described as a fit of wishful thinking. “We haven’t discussed purple, yellow, white, black.”
This is outrageous on two distinct levels, one involving Zimmerman and the other those who want to see the fight happen. First, Zimmerman. Get a load of what he said about his boxing experience:
“Boxing isn’t new to me. It’s something I had picked up well before the incident and it’s something that I liked, I enjoyed, and I kept up with it and I was able to lose a tremendous amount of weight and get a healthy lifestyle,” he told Radar. “So it’s not a new hobby, it’s something I have been doing and wanting to pursue to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”
You may recall that during “the incident,” Zimmerman said he was sucker-punched and overpowered by Trayvon. That he was screaming for his life. It was a line of defense I found lacking in credibility. His boxing comments to Radar further cement my view. As one person tweeted to Zimmerman in reaction to the interview, “Wait wait wait … you used to box and still couldn’t beat up a skinny teenager?”
Adam Pollock, who owned the gym where Zimmerman took up boxing, testified during the second-degree murder trial that his former client “never got off shadow boxing, hitting the heavy bag and learning how to punch.” And yet, during that trial, Pollock’s gym promoted “the training George Zimmerman received” there on its Web site by asking visitors to fill out a “Zimmerman Training Information Request Form.”
— Jeff Weiner (@JeffWeinerOS) July 10, 2013
The next outrage is the reaction to news of the impending bout. The blood lust (warning: graphic language) of those itching for revenge against Zimmerman turns my stomach. But the comments from the rapper the Game are beyond the pale. “I will beat the f— out of him,” he told TMZ. “I would not be boxing for me. I’d be boxing for the legacy of Trayvon Martin and for his family.” He continued, “I would box him to knock him out. I would definitely take pleasure in it. It’s legal, and I want to show him you can solve your disputes without a weapon.”
No. No. NO!
Like many people, I believe Zimmerman got away with murder. But neither I nor anyone else should take pleasure in what Zimmerman is scheduled to do. That he is willing to put his life on the line in that ring against an unknown opponent is not brave. It’s suicidal. Those willing to fight him very well might be hellbent on revenge. Those willing to pay to watch the fight would be financing barbarism.
Now try this on for irony. Racists were incensed by the photo of Trayvon in the red Hollister T-shirt. They said the gunned-down teen looked anywhere from 11 to 14 years old. Never mind that the Martin family attorney told me the photo was taken six months before Trayvon’s 17th birthday. And they insisted that the media were suppressing an “up-to-date photo” of Trayvon. A photo that was really of the Game, the same man who wants to “beat the f— out of” Zimmerman.
They peddled this lie to make Trayvon more sinister and fearsome than he ever was. They put all logic aside to believe that a 5-foot-11-inch teenage boy who weighed 158 pounds at the time of his death was really a 31-year-old man (at the time of the photo) whose 6-foot-5-inch frame now clocks in at 240 pounds.
If Zimmerman had encountered that person on that fateful night, circumstances might have been completely different. If Zimmerman encounters the Game or anyone else angling for revenge, circumstances in the ring could turn tragic.
My sincerest hope is that the fight will be canceled. For Zimmerman’s sake and for our own.
Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj