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'Inspiring': Trayvon Martin's father honored as team's captain

By Jonathan Anker, HLNtv.com
updated 3:46 PM EDT, Wed August 14, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Florida A&M's coach invites Tracy Martin, Trayvon's dad, to speak
  • He receives a standing ovation from the players
  • Tracy Martin is named the honorary captain for the Rattlers' season

(HLNtv.com) -- The father of slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin gave Florida A&M football players an inspiring speech and a great lesson on the virtues of perseverance, said the team's head coach, Earl Holmes.

So Holmes gave Tracy Martin something in return: a captaincy.

After being invited recently to speak to the Rattlers football team in Tallahassee, Florida, Trayvon's father was named an honorary captain for FAMU's 2013 football season.

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He will join them on the field September 1 for their season opener against Mississippi Valley State and participate in the pregame coin toss.

"He was very, very encouraging," Holmes told the Orlando Sentinel.

The Rattlers' coach said Martin "had some inspiring words and the guys played off that." Martin "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."

Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida, in February 2012 by George Zimmerman. Last month, Zimmerman -- a former neighborhood watch volunteer -- was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the death.

Since the verdict, Tracy Martin has been traveling and speaking on behalf of the Trayvon Martin Foundation, which provides support and advocacy for families of crime victims and seeks to "educate youth on conflict resolution techniques."

"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," Holmes said. "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."

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