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Geraldo: Sorry ‘for offending anyone' about clothing blame

George Zimmerman is seen in police mug shot provided by the Orange County, Fla., Jail, via The Mimai Herald, from a 2005 arrest. Zimmerman is the neighborhood watch captain who shot unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, 17, in a gated community in Sanford, Fla. in February 2012. (AP Photo/Orange County Jail via Miami Herald)

NEW YORK – Fox News Channel commentator Geraldo Rivera said Tuesday that he was sorry for suggesting that a hoodie worn by unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin was as responsible for his death as the neighborhood watch captain who shot him.

Rivera said a conversation with his oldest son on Monday convinced him he was wrong. Rivera said it was the first time Gabriel Rivera, 32, had said he was ashamed of something his dad had said – and it caused the dad a sleepless night.

“He had never, ever used language like that,” Rivera said. “It was like, ‘Whoa, what have I done that would make my son say that?’”

Rivera said he was apologizing “for offending anyone.”

“I apologize for the language,” he said. “I don’t apologize at all for the substance of my advice. I was trying to save lives.”

Rivera said his oldest son was witness to tension between his father and brother, Cruz Rivera, 24, over the young man’s clothing. Rivera said he wanted urban parents to realize that clothing their children wear – such as hooded T-shirts or low-slung pants – could appear menacing to people who don’t know them and could unnecessarily put them in danger.

People lost sight of the message because of the provocative words blaming the hoodie as much as Zimmerman, Rivera said. The death of an unarmed teen should be the issue, he said.

“I wanted to provoke a response,” he said. “I never expected it to be a viral avalanche.” AP