High Schoolers Sport "I AM TRAYVON" Shirts at AAU Tourney

High Schoolers Sport "I AM TRAYVON" Shirts at AAU Tourney

High school basketball players from an AAU team from Atlanta called the Game Elite’s 17U squad decided that they wanted to make a statement after the George Zimmerman acquittal: they arrived in Las Vegas for a tournament and wore shirts emblazoned with “I AM TRAYVON” before and after their games. 

Program co-director Ryan Falker said, “It really impressed me because I didn’t realize how connected the team was to the story, the social issue, they were all informed. Just based off their emotions and reactions, I was trying to think of something we could do as a team to show a united front for that situation.”

One player told CBSSports.com that the players’ reaction after the verdict was “emotional and intense.”

One player, Antonio Lang, said “This is out of respect purely for Trayvon and his family. Justice didn’t [come] in his trial, but it’s important for us as a group to show support for his family.”

Another, Avery Patterson, stated, “We all wanted to wear the shirts because, even though the right thing didn’t turn out in court we wanted everyone to know we haven’t forgotten about this.”

A third, John-Carlos Reyes, said, “We have to respect Trayvon in his death. He died for no reason. I don’t like the way it turned out to be, and we’re trying to represent him as a team.”

The team has 11 black players and one white player. Falker said, “Whether you’re white or black or Hispanic, it’s their generation.  Trayvon Martin, he looks just like them. He was a 17-year-old kid. These kids are 16 and 17. They identify and say, ‘This could have easily been me.””

The lone white teammate, Alex Bearup, said, “If they want to support it, I support the cause with them. We talked in that hotel room, we were shocked and discussed how we really felt about it. It could be anyone.”

Photo: CBS Sports