TALLAHASSEE — Trayvon Martin’s father has been named honorary captain of the FAMU football team after delivering an inspirational speech to the team.
Florida A&M coach Earl Holmes said Tracy Martin, whose son’s shooting death in Sanford drew national attention, called him recently and the coach invited the grieving father to address his players.
“[We] talked and I told him I’d love him to talk to the team. He came out and he was very, very encouraging,” Holmes said. “ . . . [He] got a standing ovation from our guys. He talked about just persevering and told the guys to keep on pushing through the hard times. The message he shared with the kids was very positive and they were very responsive.”
Since George Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in connection with Trayvon Martin’s death in Sanford, his parents have been seeking support for the Trayvon Martin Foundation.
Holmes said Tracy Martin will be an honorary captain for the Rattlers this season. Martin is scheduled to be on the field when FAMU plays it season opener against Mississippi Valley State, Sept. 1 during the MEAC-SWAC Challenge at the Citrus Bowl. Kickoff is at 11:45 a.m. and the game will air on ESPN.
Holmes said his players were moved by Martin’s speech.
“He had some inspiring words and the guys played off of that,” Holmes said. “And we’re going to keep pushing for him and his foundation. He’ll be an honorary captain for us this year and he’s welcome any time.
“I think what he’s doing with the foundation is big and it speaks volumes and I want the football team and FAMU Nation to be part of that.”
The purpose of the foundation, according to its website trayvonmartinfoundation.org, is to create awareness about how violent crime impacts the families of the victims and to provide support for those families.
“At the end of the day, whether it’s good, bad or indifferent, a parent lost a child. He can live through us and we’re going to push on for him,” Holmes said. “That was a very, very powerful meeting and a powerful message he gave to the kids. You could see it . . . the guys’ eyes just lit up.”
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