If there is one athlete in professional sports who is untouchable, that is LeBron James. He is increasingly using that power to speak out in harsh terms against the power structure in professional football and to support the protests of people like Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid who have been punished by NFL owners for their kneeling protest against police brutality, an issue that Donald Trump exploits whenever he needs a distraction from his own problems.
LeBron James, who has consistently used his platform as one of the most famous men in America to discuss social issues, has said that NFL owners have a “slave mentality”.
The Los Angeles Lakers star made the comments on Friday’s broadcast of his HBO discussion show, The Shop. “In the NFL they got a bunch of old white men owning teams and they got that slave mentality,” James said. “And it’s like, ‘This is my team. You do what the fuck I tell y’all to do. Or we get rid of y’all.’”
The NBA, on the other hand, has been praised for being much more progressive on social issues. “The difference between the NBA and the NFL, the NBA is what we believe he [a player] can be. The potential,” James said. “In the NFL, it’s like what can you do for me this Sunday, or this Monday or this Thursday, and if you ain’t it, we moving on.”
James has been quick to speak up about social issues in the past. He is a long-time critic of the US president, Donald Trump. In an interview with the web series Uninterrupted in January, James said of Trump: “The number one job in America … is someone who doesn’t understand the people, and really don’t give a fuck about the people.”
James does not need to fear of repercussions from fans. He seems to be following in the footsteps of another basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in becoming a social critic.