LeBron James is denying claims from his conservative critics that he inspired a recent police shooting in Los Angeles, telling reporters after Tuesday’s playoff loss to the Denver Nuggets that he has ‘never… ever condoned violence.’
‘I do not condone violence towards anyone, police, black people, white people, anyone of color, anyone not of color, because that’s not going to ever make this world or America what we want it to be,’ James said Tuesday after the Nuggets cut the Lakers’ lead in the Western Conference Finals to 2-1.
Conservative pundit Candace Owens recently accused James of inflaming racial tensions, resulting in the shooting of two Los Angeles Sheriff’s deputies on September 12. The officers have not been identified publicly, but both the 31-year-old female and 24-year-old male have reportedly been released from the hospital.
LeBron James (left) is denying claims from his conservative critics that he inspired a recent police shooting in Los Angeles, telling reporters after Tuesday’s playoff loss to the Denver Nuggets that he has ‘never… ever condoned violence.’ Conservative pundit Candace Owens (right) accused James of inflaming racial tensions, resulting in the shooting of two Los Angeles Sheriff’s deputies on September 12. The officers have not been identified publicly, but both the 31-year-old female and 24-year-old male have reportedly been released from the hospital
Owens said the shooting of two LA sheriffs was ‘the natural result’ of James’s rhetoric
James tweeted in May that black people in the United States were being ‘literally hunted’
Four months earlier, in response to the shooting death of African-American man Ahmaud Arbery by two white vigilantes in Georgia, James tweeted that black people are ‘literally hunted’ whenever they leave their homes.
However, James did not call for any violence in his May 6 tweet, or any other for that matter.
‘Why does this happen?’ Owens tweeted on September 13. ‘Because pea-brained celebrities that are idolized like @KingJames tell young black men that they are “literally being hunted”. This is the natural result of such hyperbolic, dishonest rhetoric. The racist, anti-police, black lives matter LIE is to blame.’
James flatly rejected Owens’s claim.
The deputies who were shot in LA County have been released from the hospital. Their identities haven’t been made public
‘I’ve never in my 35 years ever condoned violence – never have,’ he told reporters via satellite from the NBA’s bubble at Disney World in Florida.
‘But I also know what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong and I grew up in an inner city in a black community, in what we call the “hood,” the “ghetto,” however you want to picture it. And I’ve seen a lot of counts, firsthand (sic), of a lot of black people being I guess racially profiled because of our color, and I’ve seen it throughout my whole life.
‘I’m not saying that all cops are bad,’ he continued. ‘I’m around them all the time and they are not all bad. But when you see the videos that’s going on and you can see not only my hometown [of Akron, Ohio] but all over America, you continue to see the acts of violence towards my kind. I can’t do nothing but to speak about it and see the common denominator.’
James then reiterated his first point.
‘But not one time have I ever said “let’s act violent towards cops.” I just said that what’s going on in our community is not okay, and we fear for that and we fear for our lives. It’s something that we go on every single day as a black man and a black woman and a black kid and a black girl, we fear; we fear that moment where we are pulled over.’
James then referenced a recent incident in Wisconsin, where an African-American man named Keonte Furdge was handcuffed and held at gunpoint by police while he was moving into a residence. Furdge’s new neighbors reportedly called police on him.
‘The next-door neighbor called the police on him, and the police came in the house without a warrant, without anything, and arrested the guy, a black man because he was sitting out on the porch.’ James said. ‘If you can’t tell me that’s not racial profiling, then I don’t know what the hell — or what the hell we are looking at.’
James then referenced the police shooting in LA, saying: ‘I have zero comment on the sheriff.’
The four-time NBA MVP has battled with conservatives in the media throughout much of the year.
In June he called out Laura Ingraham on social media for what he perceived as the Fox News host’s hypocrisy for supporting Drew Brees’s right to political free speech after previously telling him and other black NBA players to ‘shut up and dribble.’
In responding to his critics, James referenced a recent incident in Wisconsin, where an African-American man named Keonte Furdge (in white) was handcuffed and held at gunpoint by police while he was moving into a residence. His neighbors reportedly called police on him
Fox News host Laura Ingraham (left) said in 2018 that LeBron James and other black basketball players should ‘shut up and dribble’ rather than criticize President Donald Trump
‘We are simply F-N tired of this treatment right here!’ James wrote on Twitter in response to a post contrasting Ingraham’s treatment of Brees, a popular white quarterback, with the way she’s addressed black athletes.
Brees had been taking criticism from James and even his own New Orleans Saints teammates on Wednesday after reiterating his disapproval of NFL players protesting racist police brutality by peacefully protesting during the national anthem, calling the demonstrations ‘disrespectful’ to the military.
He ultimately apologized and changed his position, but Ingraham rushed to his defense before Brees’s about-face.
‘Well, he’s allowed to have his view about what kneeling and the flag means to him,’ said the conservative talk show host. I mean, he’s a person. He has some worth, I imagine. I mean, this is beyond football, though. This is totalitarian conduct. This is Stalinist.’
For years Ingraham has spoken out against athletes voicing any political dissent, let alone protesting during the national anthem.
When James said President Donald Trump ‘doesn’t really give a f*** about the people’ in 2018, she called the former NBA MVP’s opinion ‘unintelligible.’
‘It’s always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball,’ she said, as quoted by NPR. ‘Keep the political comments to yourselves. … Shut up and dribble.’
James has since produced a docu-series on Showtime titled ‘Shut up and dribble.’
Ingraham’s 180 on the subject did not go unnoticed by Charges wide receiver Keenan Allen
James and Kevin Durant got a different message from Ingraham when they criticized Trump
Ex-NBA player Josh Childress seemed to suggest race played a factor in Ingraham’s about-face