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The author of one of the larger side stories that has cropped up around the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, Geraldo Rivera tried to retire for good the controversy and ill will that he has engendered over the past two weeks.
Rivera said in a Fox News appearance on March 23 that he believed that the hoodie Martin was wearing the night he was followed, shot and killed by George Zimmerman made him a suspicious looking “gangsta wannabe,” and thus made him an obvious target for a suspicious neighborhood watch captain. With Martin’s parents, Sybrina and Tracy, appearing as guests on his show Sunday night, Rivera offered a mea culpa for his words.
“What I was trying to do was caution parents allowing kids to wear hoodies or similar clothing in certain circumstances, particularly if they were minority young men could be dangerous,” Rivera said. “But I never intended to hurt anyone’s feelings and certainly Sybrina and Tracy, I never intended to hurt your feelings. I want to personally convey my deepest apologies to both of you. I am sorry, Tracy, if anything I said added to your misery.”
The apology was reminiscent of an earlier statement he made, which apologized for causing offense but stood by his initial message.
“I remain absolutely convinced of what I said about asking for trouble,” he wrote in a letter to Politico a few days later. “There’s trouble enough for minority boys and young men not to provoke mad responses from paranoid jerk offs.”
Martin’s father accepted this apology, but not without defending his son.
“Your apology is accepted. Let me just add one thing with the wearing of the hoodie,” he said. “I don’t think America knows that, in fact, at the time of the incident when he initially made the call, it was raining. So Trayvon had every right to have on his hood. He was protecting himself from the rain. So if being a suspicious, walking in the rain with your hoodie on is a crime, then i guess the world is doing something wrong.”
Rivera’s comments sparked a national debate about racial profiling, with various celebrities and even a congressman wearing a hoodie in support. Those high profile names joined a national movement of hoodie wearers marching in demand of Zimmerman’s arrest, which has yet to occur.
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