February 5, 2014
George Zimmerman at his second-degree murder trial. (Gary Green/Orlando Sentinel via Associated Press)
George Zimmerman at his second-degree murder trial. (Gary Green/Orlando Sentinel via Associated Press)

Today would have been Trayvon Martin’s 19th birthday. Instead of reflecting on the tragedy that ended his life, we are left to sit agape at the latest spectacle created by George Zimmerman, the man who killed the unarmed teenager two years ago this month. On March 1, he will step into the ring with the rapper DMX. This pay-per-view bout promises to be a hot mess.

In one corner, you have an attention-starved former neighborhood watch volunteer who was made out to be a weakling during his second-degree murder trial. Remember how his former boxing coach testified that he “never got off shadow boxing, hitting the heavy bag and learning how to punch.” Zimmerman now claims boxing as a serious avocation long before what he called “the incident.”

In the other corner, you have a rapper who told TMZ that “I am going to beat the living f— out him. . . . I am breaking every rule in boxing to make sure I f— him right up.” DMX’s long rap sheet of arrests and his fearsome look might make folks think that Zimmerman has signed his own death certificate by agreeing to fight him. Although, with so many charges for drug possession and being under the influence, is the 43-year-old in any kind of shape to take on the 30-year-old boxing enthusiast? Maybe that’s why he promises to break every rule in boxing. That I’m even asking that question makes me ill.

Celebrity status bestowed upon a man who killed an unarmed child minimizes the memory of that child, debases the fight of his parents to find meaning in his death and eviscerates the notion of celebrity. Some 15,000 people applied to take swings at Zimmerman. And the blood lust and revenge fantasies fueling most if not all of them (not to mention those who just spouted off on social media) are beyond disgusting.

This is not how Trayvon’s parents want their son to be remembered. He will never rest in peace as long as Zimmerman continues to make a spectacle of himself and the public aids and abets him.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj

Update, 3:10 p.m.: Domenick Nati, publicist for DMX, sent me the following statement: “The boxing match between George Zimmerman and DMX is not officially confirmed. DMX has promised to ‘beat his ass’, but no contract or paperwork has been signed or agreed to yet. DMX will release an official statement if and when an agreement is made.” Let’s hope DMX proves to be the grown-up in this mess and opts not to sign on to the Zimmerman circus.

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.