Dwyane Wade promises to change his pre-game shooting routine after his behaviour during “O Canada” sparked outrage on social media.
The Miami Heat star has become Public Enemy No. 1 after video showed him shooting through the beginning of the national anthem for Saturday’s game against the Toronto Raptors.
“I’m not a disrespectful person,” Wade said Sunday. “So if anybody thinks I’m being disrespectful to a country, then they don’t know who Dwyane Wade is.”
Wade traditionally doesn’t line up for the anthem until he hits his last shot, and blamed timing for his behaviour Saturday. When Canada’s lone NBA franchise plays in Miami, the anthems start earlier than the regular schedule.
“It’s something that I do before every game that I prepare for, and I’ve been doing it my whole career,” Wade said. “So I understand whatever is said from that standpoint, but I’m not a disrespectful person.”
“It was no disrespect from myself. And if anybody feels like it was, please don’t fill up my timeline with disrespectful comments, because that’s not this guy right here. Find somebody else for that. But we’ll adjust our pre-game routine for the next game.”
The incident sparked outrage on Twitter. Toronto Mayor John Tory posted “Hey @DwyaneWade a Canadian invented the game. Respect the anthem. #WeTheNorth #RTZ.”
Member of Provincial Parliament Mike Colle wrote a letter of complaint to commissioner Adam Silver.
To Wade’s comments about not being a disrespectful person, former Ontario Premier Bob Rae tweeted: “Sure coulda fooled us!”
The Raptors went on to beat the Heat 95-91 to take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven second-round playoff series. Game 4 is Monday in Miami.