Los Angeles Lakers player and NBA star LeBron James was once again at the center of another controversial episode after expressing regret following his controversial tweet against police officer Nicholas Reardon.
However, the basketball player’s apology was not for vehemently rebuking the officer or for his off-color statements against law enforcement, but for fueling “the wrong conversation about Ma’Khia Bryant.” In short, for not focusing enough on “the victims” of “police brutality.”
I fueled the wrong conversation about Ma’Khia Bryant and I owe it to her and this movement to change it. Thank you @fabiolacineas for educating us about Ma’Khia and her story and why this needs to be about her. https://t.co/Owh1vDJWXi #sayhername #Blacklivesmatter
— LeBron James (@KingJames) May 3, 2021
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Vox Magazine’s Fabiola Cineas published a lengthy article titled “Why they’re not saying Ma’Khia Bryant’s name” that was shared by LeBron on Twitter. In that piece, Cineas criticizes “racial justice” activists for not being outraged by the case of Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old African-American girl who was shot and killed by police in the same way that George Floyd was.
The journalist also attacks all those who quickly took sides in favor of police officer Nicholas Reardon, who ended up shooting young Ma’Khia Bryant in a very delicate situation: the young woman who died was involved in a domestic dispute and, in a matter of seconds, appeared to attack another African-American woman while wielding a knife. Officer Reardon, who had arrived on the scene moments earlier, shot Ma’Khia Bryant just before she was about to stab the other woman.
All of this happened in mere seconds.
“Reardon shot Bryant dead about 20 minutes before a judge announced that a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murdering George Floyd, a killing that catalyzed worldwide protests against police violence. For a moment, those seeking justice for Black life exhaled in relief, knowing that the officer who callously took Floyd’s life would be imprisoned,” sketched reporter Cineas.
“But the cries for justice that applied to George Floyd did not ring out as loudly for Bryant. Even after it was discovered that Bryant was living in foster care, that she was in the middle of a fight with older women when police arrived, and that she was allegedly the one who summoned the police for help, people — some of the same people who called for justice in Floyd’s case — used police talking points to justify the four bullets that Reardon unloaded into Bryant’s chest. She was brandishing a knife, many pointed out, which meant the other Black women needed to be protected,” she remarked.
The Ma’Khia Bryant case sparked intense debate on social media about “police brutality,” “systemic racism” and the methods of law enforcement in extreme situations. Many people angrily attacked Reardon, but others also defended him or, failing that, cleared him of any race-based murder charges for shooting in the middle of a particular, difficult case.
If tempers and debate around the Ma’Khia Bryant case were already frayed, everything was further inflamed when LeBron James posted a tweet with Officer Reardon’s photo and the following caption: ‘YOU’RE NEXT’.
The Lakers player was clearly referring to the conviction of ex-cop Derek Chauvin, who was found guilty of all charges in the murder of George Floyd.
But instead of producing a favorable effect on the narrative of systemic racism and police brutality, LeBron generated a critical movement against it. Many people called him a hypocrite, accusing him of selective outrage and using social media to promote hatred against whites and law enforcement.
The basketball player ended up deleting the tweet and then wrote: “I’m so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police. I took the tweet down because its being used to create more hate. This isn’t about one officer. it’s about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism. I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY.”
Many users recalled the time LeBron James asked former Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey to refrain from criticizing the Chinese communist regime and supporting pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong. The NBA star insinuated that Morey was not well-informed of the situation and that he should have responsibility for voicing his opinions on social media.
“Fight for freedom, support Hong Kong,” Morey wrote on his social media. The statement generated an immediate response from the Chinese Communist Party, which decided to boycott NBA games in their country.
LeBron decided to send a message to Morey: “I don’t want to get into a [verbal] feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand” LeBron James said before a Lakers preseason game against the Warriors.
“And so many people could have been harmed not only financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually. So just be careful what we tweet and say and we do, even though, yes, we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that, too,” the basketball player stated.
Now, LeBron appears in a new controversy over the Ma’Khia Bryant case. The great criticism directed towards his incendiary rhetoric did not affect him. The basketball player decided to explain that the problem was not to speak out in an impetuous and violent way on a sensitive issue, especially having so many followers and influence in the world of racial activism, but that he simply did not channel his frustration in favor of the victim.
The damage LeBron was able to cause towards law enforcement by generating an increase in American social polarization was not referenced in King James’ account. The basketball player’s repentance went through spreading an article that only strengthens the discourse of systematic racism with which he communes. And hundreds of Twitter users again criticized him.
You’re not a king, you’re just a man. You’re not helping the discourse, you’re distorting the truth in your bigotry. https://t.co/mwMeONkaZm
— Debra 💕 (@debra0827) May 5, 2021
This just show that @KingJames is part of the problem and not the solution in his tone deaf and completely in adequate quasi apology shows that he doesn’t understand the gravity of what he said and does not care about Fax only his biased and uninformed narrative an opinion. https://t.co/214esFIwmX
— Brooke Taylor (@Brooke_M_Taylor) May 5, 2021
You need to read this article to understand what is going on
Woke media will say anything to justify their grift
Tribalists like James will say “oooh yea that explains it”
How do you compromise with people who follow sophistry instead of principle? https://t.co/tmPDBp4BaV
— Tim Pool (@Timcast) May 5, 2021
Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón is a journalist at El American specializing in the areas of American politics and media analysis // Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón es periodista de El American especializado en las áreas de política americana y análisis de medios de comunicación.
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