Miami Heat to support Marjory Stoneman Douglas by wearing uniform patch for rest of season, Dwyane Wade hoping for change

West Boca High School students walked to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fl., February 20, 2018. (Melanie Bell / The Palm Beach Post)

MIAMI — The Heat are making a special addition to their jerseys.

For the remainder of the season, the Heat will wear a patch that reads “MSD” on their jerseys to honor the victims of last week’s tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland. The patch design is still being worked on, but the Heat hope to have it ready to wear in their next game Friday against the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Heat will also hold a moment of silence before Saturday’s home game against the Grizzlies to honor the victims.

For Heat guard Dwyane Wade, who spent the first 13 seasons of his NBA career in Miami and returned to the South Florida community when he was traded to the Heat earlier this month, honoring the victims is a responsibility he welcomes.

“The parents and the kids and the community have been very vocal,” Heat guard Dwyane Wade said after Wednesday’s practice. “They’ve pulled together so amazingly and, as a franchise in this state, knowing that the kids that are no longer with us and the kids that are still dealing with this, we’re their favorite team, the majority of them, and to be able to bring awareness to what’s going, to listen even more, and tune into what they’re saying and what they’re doing, it’s powerful. That’s the kind of organization this is, so I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Seventeen students and faculty were killed last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. A 19-year-old former student, Nikolas Cruz, has been charged in the shooting.

“It’s scary, man. It’s scary,” Wade said. “As I continue to say, besides having your kids next to you at home, the safest place for them is to be in school. And to have another incident, another tragic moment in this state we live, in the world we live in, it’s sad. And it’s frightening for parents all around the world. So when they say we need to change something, we definitely need to. We need to figure out a way.

“I know that every school has their security and the things that they want to do, but maybe we need to look into a little bit more, just like we did when it came down to flying, TSA, we changed everything. And even though it was hard, you got to get to the airport earlier, it became a burden at times, it’s safe, it made you feel safe. So we have to figure out a way to change things in our schools to help our kids be safe.”

The Heat aren’t the only professional sports team in South Florida honoring the victims of last week’s school shooting. The Florida Panthers are wearing helmet decals and jersey patches to pay tribute, and the Miami Marlins — along with every other Major League Baseball team — are wearing Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School hats at spring training games this week.

“Change happens by things the Miami Heat are going to do, bring awareness,” Wade said. “Change happens by the people who have a voice speaking for the ones that don’t have a voice, the ones they’re trying to mute. That’s how change happens. That’s why athletes speak out on topics, not just for yourself. You’re speaking out for others. You’re speaking out for others that need it. We’re the voices for the unheard.”

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