Chris Matthews

Like many in the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict, Chris Matthews is wondering what he can learn from the situation, particularly about others’ experiences with race.

On his MSNBC show Thursday, Matthews had NBC News executive Val Nicholas and former RNC chairman Michael Steele, both of whom are black, on to discuss their feelings on the verdict, and more broadly, race relations in America today. Nicholas, who had just penned an op-ed for titled, “I Could Have Been Trayvon Martin,” shared his experiences as a black teenager. He explained that twice as a teen he wound up looking down the barrel of a police gun for no other reason than the color of his skin. Steele agreed with him, saying he too had similar experiences. “What Val and I have in common is black skin, and the perceptions that go along with that,” Steele elaborated.

“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,” Nicholas concluded. “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 9 or 10 years old.”

A shocked Matthews ended the segment saying he wanted to apologize. “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.”

Watch the clip below: