Dwyane Wade, Heat players offer ‘hoodie’ support in Trayvon Martin case


   On the day President Obama commented for the first time on the fatal shooting of unarmed Trayvon Martin in Sanford, All-Star guard Dwyane Wade and his Miami Heat teammates also injected themselves into the conversation.

   Martin, 17, was shot a month ago after a confrontation in a gated community with neighborhood-watch captain George Zimmerman, with the youth’s body discovered Feb. 26.  Zimmerman who has claimed he shot Martin in self-defense, has not been charged.

  Martin was wearing a “hoodie” hooded sweatshirt when he was shot, which has added to the debate about racial profiling.

  To that end, Wade on Friday posted to his Facebook page a picture of himself wearing a hoodie. On his Twitter account, he simply posted, “#hoodies #stereotype #trayvonmartin” with a link to the photograph of himself wearing a hoodie.

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  Later, LeBron James posted a picture on his Twitter account of the entire Heat team in hooded sweatshirts, apparently taken at the team hotel, with the Twitter post, “#WeAreTrayvonMartin #Hoodies #Stereotyped #WeWantJustice.”

  Various rallies held in support of Martin have asked participants to wear hoodies.

   “I’m a father,” Wade told the South Florida Sun Sentinel following Friday morning’s practice at the Palace of Auburn Hills, in advance of Friday night’s game against the Detroit Pistons. “It’s support of the tragic thing that has taken place. No matter what color, race, we’re all fathers.

   “When you think about what that family’s going through, it hits you hard and it hurts your heart to think about it. Just anything you can do, obviously we can’t bring him back, but anything you can do to get behind and support is what we’re doing.”

  Wade said he felt it was the perfect time to present the photo of himself in the hoodie.

   “It’s a picture that I’ve taken before. I thought it was great opportunity to use it,” he said. “I’ve never used it before, really. So that was a great opportunity to use it. Just to get the people to understand what we’re in support of.”

  Friday in Washington, President Obama said, “I can only imagine what these parents are going through, and when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids, and I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this and that everybody pulls together, federal, state and local, to figure out how this tragedy happened.”

  Wade, a father of two, said he felt it imperative to enter the conversation. His girlfriend, actress Gabrielle Union, had already voiced her outrage over the handing of the case.

   “We discussed it,” Wade said. “I only start doing something when I find out more information on it. Early on, I didn’t hear the [911] call, I didn’t have a lot of information. So I wasn’t going to just jump into it. She knew a lot early on about everything. That’s why she was very vocal.”

  Wade had taken a high profile with various charitable causes but, until Friday, had largely remained on the side on politically charged issues.

  Wednesday, South Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson spoke on the U.S. House floor, calling the incident “a classic example of racial profiling quickly followed by murder.”

   Following Friday’s practice, Heat guard Mario Chalmers posted on his Twitter account, “Our prayers are with the Martin family.”

 iwinderman@tribune.com. Follow him at twitter.com/iraheatbeat

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