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Jazz's Earl Watson wears hoodie in support of Trayvon Martin; wants NBA players to start using their voice

Earl Watson's new Twitter picture Friday wasn't a coincidence.

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During a day when the Miami Heat took a team photo wearing hoodies to show support for Trayvon Martin and New York forward Carmelo Anthony showed off an image of himself wearing a hooded sweatshirt, Watson changed his main Twitter image to a photo of him wearing a white hoodie.

Watson on what provoked the change and his thoughts about Martin's controversial death: I've been following it as much as I could and I started to follow it on Facebook. If you don't catch the news and just ask a question [on Facebook], people answer. And I heard an audio tape — it was sad — of the shot and the shooting and being on the phone with the police. You could hear the kid in the background screaming for help. 'He's going to kill me, I'm about to die. Help, help.' You hear that one shot. [Pop.] And then it was silence. So I see it on Facebook, cause I guess the kid had on a hood or something and he had some Skittles and an iced tea.

I don't really know what started it. I don't think no one really knows. It's just very disappointing. It's 2012. You know? It's 2012. There's a lot of leaders, a lot of guys in the NBA who pretend to be leaders of the community — foundations and all the works. It's time for somebody with a significant platform to step up and just have an opinion just beyond basketball. This is not even a controversial stance. It's a stance for human rights. It's a stance for civil rights. It's a stance for just love. A kid, 17 years old: that could be any kid. … The audio tape is what really gets you. The kid, hearing his last words. that kid is only 17 years old. I just remember when I was 17. You never what he could've become and it's just sad that nothing has been done. And it's more disappointing that laws can actually protect that. Here, we're all worrying about that Kony kid over in Africa — Kony 2012. And here we have a situation where it's not massive. But I don't think there's a difference between one person losing their life and a million. It's not fair and it's not right, so we have to stand up for what we believe here, first.

Decision to wear the hoodie: The hoodie was just support for him and his family. It's tough, because there's me losing my little brother in a car accident when I was 17. Let alone that family losing their kid to a brainless, insensitive, act of violence. And the fact that the shooter could actually hear those words before he shot him that last time shows he didn't care.

The Heat's team photo: Yeah, I saw that. … It's a good start. But I remember taking a class at UCLA and we was talking about leadership. They were saying how our country was built on change. Change came from the people really taking a stand and being extreme at times. From not riding the bus to protesting together, showing unity. Somewhere along, that stopped. … You'll see more protests in Europe now, so they've learned from us. True leadership really doesn't care [about] the mass thing, because what's right is right. You have to have a voice. You have to stand. I believe if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything. It's just sad. A sad situation for the kid and his family.

Brian T. Smith

Twitter: @tribjazz

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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