George Zimmerman may be gearing up to fight rapper DMX in a celebrity boxing match but some people like Reverend Al Sharpton are against the charitable bout.
Zimmerman, 30, first came into the spotlight as a Florida neighborhood watchman who fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin which sparked a great deal of public outcry. After he was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges last year, a number of people have expressed their disdain for him publicly.
Now, celebrity boxing promoter Damon Feldman says he got Zimmerman to agree to engage in a celebrity boxing match for charity. However Sharpton, the civil rights activist and leader of the National Action Network, is warning people against being quick to label Zimmerman a celebrity.
"We must be very careful not to glorify or in any way sidestep the implications of making someone whose only claim to fame was killing an unarmed young man named Trayvon Martin into a cultural celebrity or hero," Sharpton told CNN. "It is perfectly legal for him to exploit his fame but we should never forget what he is famous for and not behave like he is a celebrity based on gifts or talent or contributions to society."
A Change.org petition has also been created to stop the bout from taking place.
"This is a blatant show of disrespect and nothing positive or righteous would come from such a stunt," the petition states.
Zimmerman spoke about why he wanted to get involved in a celebrity boxing match for charity.
"Prior to the incident, I was actually going to the gym for weight loss and doing boxing-type training for weight loss," he told Radar Online. "A mutual friend put me in contact with Damon and provided me with an opportunity and motivation to get back in shape and continue with my weight loss goals and also be able to help a charity out."