September 21st began with a plea for Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and the Miami Heat to help save Troy Davis from execution but it ended with silence and a “RIP” from Mario Chalmers.
Yesterday’s article, “Heat Check: Too Quiet on Troy Davis?”, asked why the Miami Heat players on Twitter had not promoted the campaign to save Troy Davis to the millions of followers on their social networks. The hope was that this plea would galvanize Heat players and fans to help save a man from being executed despite the existence of reasonable doubt.
Heat fans definitely did their part. On Bleacher Report, the article was read over 900 times without any placement by the B/R editors on the Miami Heat page. In the B/R poll, 60 percent of readers said they thought Heat players should take a stand on the Troy Davis issue.
Unfortunately, most Heat players did not take a stand despite tweets from fans, family and friends like Chalmers, actress Gabrielle Union and publicist Lisa Joseph-Metelus promoting awareness to the players. It was the most disappointing performance by the Miami Heat since their loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals.
It was disappointing because the Heat players do so much charity work to help kids and their communities that could be undone by one miscarriage of justice. Any of the kids the Heat help could become Troy Davis in the hands of an unjust legal system since Florida is one of 36 states with a death penalty. Florida was also the first state to kill a prisoner without their consent after the Supreme Court issued a moratorium on executions in 1972, according to wikipedia.
Wade partners with Alonzo Mourning to raise money each summer to build recreation centers in the Overtown neighborhood of Miami. LeBron does extensive work for Boys and Girls Clubs around the country as well as students in his hometown of Akron. Udonis Haslem provides kids what they need to go back to school and get the best out of their education. Those are just a few examples.
It’s disappointing all of that goodwill was left at-risk and an extensive social network went untapped. Heat players have over 4 million followers combined on Twitter. They may not have been able to save Troy Davis’ life, but the lack of effort was disappointing to many of those fans.
Michael Jordan said he would have never joined forces with other stars like Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh did last summer. I hope the Three Kings don't do what Jordan did and avoid taking a stance on all political issues during their playing careers. Unfortunately, I can't say never.
It didn’t take a lot of effort to send a tweet promoting the campaign to save Troy Davis. Maybe Heat players expended a lot of effort offline, in other ways, to help this cause. Maybe while LeBron was in Washington D.C. he joined protesters outside the Supreme Court as they considered issuing a stay of execution. Maybe I missed some tweets or retweets in their timelines.
I hope that’s the case. If it isn’t, then I hope that LeBron and the rest of the Heat continue to be inspired by people like Martin Luther King, Jr. and develop their awareness of human rights issues facing people like Troy Davis.
Learn more about the Death Penalty and Innocence, and what you can do, from Amnesty International.
Learn “10 Things Anyone Can Do To Exonerate Innocent People & Prevent Wrongful Convictions” from the Innocence Project.