MIAMI – A slew of professional sports teams – including the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars have announced they are leaving Florida following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin.
The teams released a joint statement saying that “the state of Florida has become too dangerous for young black men to live in, and as the majority of our players fit this demographic, we’ve decided we’ll soon be moving to pastures new.” The statement went on to say that if one of their starters were shot dead and the person who shot him was found not guilty – as was the case with Zimmerman – “it would lead to a competitive advantage for other teams whose starting players had not been shot dead, leading to failed prosecutions.”
Players from both teams also highlighted the media climate surrounding the case, and the frequent defense of Zimmerman’s actions featured on some networks. Prior to the verdict, for example, Geraldo Rivera on “Fox and Friends” said: “So it’s a dark night, a 6-foot-2-inch hoodie-wearing stranger is in the immediate housing complex. How would the ladies of that jury have reacted? I submit that if they were armed, they would have shot and killed Trayvon Martin a lot sooner than George Zimmerman did. This is self-defense.”
Heat star LeBron James observed that the teams’ two shortest players were exactly 6 feet 2 inches, “so if you can legally shoot someone for being that height and black, I don’t want to know what that means they can do to 6 foot 11 Chris Bosh without any legal ramifications.”
Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew added that both franchises hope to relocate somewhere with a stronger sense of race-related justice than Florida currently has, “such as Mississippi. Or South Africa in the 1980s.”
The Miami Marlins noted they were staying in Florida and did not fear for their safety, as no one seemed to know they were there.