Over the past week, a potential boxing match between George Zimmerman and rapper DMX has become an increased topic of conversation. Reverend Al Sharpton even weighed in on the controversial event, which is being dubbed a celebrity boxing match, during his MSNBC show “PoliticsNation.”
Sharpton questioned Zimmerman’s claim to celebrity and attempted to decipher the particular moment when Zimmerman became a celebrity.
“George Zimmerman has signed on for a so called celebrity boxing match,” he said. “We learned today that his opponent in the ring will be rapper DMX. Like any American, Zimmerman has the right to pursue whatever he wants in life. But I have one simple question, when exactly did George Zimmerman become a celebrity? Did he become a celebrity when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin? Did it happen when he went on national TV and said he had no regrets about the killing…Did he become a celebrity on the night the jury found him not guilty? Or did it happen a few weeks later when a juror said she thought he was quote, ‘he had gotten away with murder?’”
The 59-year-old reverend then went on to reveal that Zimmerman’s only claim to fame stems from the fact that he killed an unarmed Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012.
“Let’s be clear, Zimmerman’s only claim to fame was killing an unarmed, young man named Trayvon Martin,” Sharpton said. “But killing someone does not make you a celebrity. Or it shouldn’t. And this point is particularly important today because today is Trayvon Martin’s birthday. He would have turned 19-years-old today. I do not begrudge people that achieve celebrity status or high profile status that I disagree with…But when we start making celebrities, we started some way glorifying people whose only claim to fame is killing someone unarmed…Do we not have boundaries at who we raise in celebrity and glorification in society?”
Over a week ago, news of a celebrity boxing match involving Zimmerman began to circulate. The Florida resident initially expressed interest in boxing rapper Kanye West during the match, but since that time DMX has been named as a possible competitor.
A petition calling for an end to the match has also been created; it states that Zimmerman and promoter Damon Feldman are “using murder and racial hate in America for profit.” Those behind the petition are hoping to receive 100,000 signatures before March 4.
This month marks two years since Zimmerman gunned down Martin in Sanford, Florida and was later acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in a highly-publicized trial held last year.