Chris Matthews apologized "on behalf of all white people" on Thursday after two of his black colleagues said the George Zimmerman trial reminded them of difficult memories from their own teenage years.
NBC News executive Val Nicholas penned an op-ed on MSNBC.com titled "I Could Have Been Trayvon Martin," in which he discussed how he was targeted as a black teenager. He wrote:
I grew up in a military family and we always lived in middle class neighborhoods. I was an honor student in high school as well as a student athlete running track. I even had an after-school job to earn spending money. That said, twice as a teen, I ended up looking down the barrel of police guns for no other reason that I happened to be a black teenager. I had completely forgotten about these incidents but the Zimmerman verdict opened that door again.
Nicholas further discussed his experiences with Matthews and former RNC chairman Michael Steele, who shared some similar experiences and the warnings he's passed onto his sons. "My father, not unlike Michael, taught me that if you end up in a situation with the police or security or whatever, never argue, just capitulate. Because, he said, there's only three results that could happen from that. One, you go to jail. Two, you go to the hospital. Three, you go to the morgue. And he told me that when I was nine or 10 years old."
"We're going to continue this conversation privately and on television," Matthews said, wrapping up the segment. "I'll just tell you one thing and I'm speaking now for all white people but especially those who have tried to change in the last 50 or 60 years—and a lot of them have really tried to change—I'm sorry for this stuff. That's all I'm saying."