Fox News host Geraldo Rivera on Tuesday offered what may be one of the worst apologies ever for suggesting that Trayvon Martin had been partially responsible for his own death because he was wearing a hoodie.
“I apologize to anyone offended by what one prominent black conservative called my ‘very practical and potentially life-saving campaign urging black and Hispanic parents not to let their children go around wearing hoodies,’” Rivera told Politico.
“I have obscured the main point that someone shot and killed an unarmed teenager,” the Fox News personality said, adding that he was extending a “heartfelt apology” to anyone offended by his “crusade to warn minority families of the danger to their young sons inherent in gangsta style clothing; like hoodies.”
On Friday, Rivera had insisted to the hosts of Fox & Friends that the hoodie “allowed” neighborhood watch leader George Zimmerman to gun down Martin.
“I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was,” the host ranted. “You have to recognize that this whole stylizing yourself as a gangsta — you’re going to be a gangsta wannabe, well people are going to perceive you as a menace. That’s what happens. It is an instant, reflexive action.”
“When you see a black or Latino youngster, particularly on the street, you walk to the other side of the street,” Rivera explained. “You try to avoid that confrontation. Trayvon Martin, God bless him. He’s an innocent kid, a wonderful kid, a box of Skittles in his hand, he didn’t deserve to die, but I’ll bet you money if he didn’t have that hoodie on, that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn’t have responded in that violent and aggressive way.”
“There are some things that are almost inevitable. I’m not suggesting that Trayvon Martin had any kind of weapon or anything. He wore an outfit that allowed someone to respond in this irrational, overzealous way. And if he had been dressed more appropriately — I think unless it is raining out or you are at a track meet, leave the hoodie home.”
In fact, Zimmerman told the 911 dispatcher that it was raining as he was pursuing Martin.
“This guy looks like he’s up to no good or he’s on drugs or something,” the neighborhood watch enthusiast said. “It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about. … These assholes always get away.”
Rivera later noted that his own son, Gabriel, had been ashamed of his comments.
“Gabriel broke my heart,” he told Politico. “He’s my oldest, 32, and he just told me that for the first time in his life he’s ashamed of what I wrote on [Fox News Latino].”