Winderman: Wade, Heat, could no longer keep silent on Trayvon Martin

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Civic activism tends to be muted in the NBA to almost the same degree as political activism.

As Michael Jordan previously and famously noted during his playing days, sneaker consumers come in all shapes, sizes, colors and political affiliations.

But to Dwyane Wade, when civic activism turned to parental activism, he no longer could remain on the sideline.

So Friday, before the Heat left for practice in advance of their game against the Detroit Pistons, the All-Star guard took to Twitter and Facebook and took on the Trayvon Martin case. It also was when he remembered an unpublished photo from a previous publicity shoot.

So there, on Twitter and Facebook, was Wade in a hoodie. Just like unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was when he was gunned down a month ago in Central Florida while returning from a convenience store armed only with ice tea and Skittles.

By the time the Heat had returned to their hotel from the shootaround at the Palace of Auburn Hills, a photo of the entire team in hoodies had gone viral.

It has been nearly a month since Martin was gunned down. To some, it already is late in game when it comes to justice, or injustice if you will.

For Wade, though, it was acting at the right moment in the right way.

“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,” he told the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

But once he wrapped his mind around the incident, his heart followed.

“I’m a father,” he said. “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.”

Heat teammates followed with their own messages on Twitter.

While the NBA has not been like the NFL when it comes to the degree of limiting non-sport dialogue, it will be interesting, now that President Obama has addressed the issue, to see where the debate goes in the NBA.

And what forms it takes.

Friday, Wade and his Heat teammates decided it was time to engage social media. As a team from Florida, it is an issue that hit home.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at @IraHeatBeat.