LeBron James, a Los Angeles Lakers star, has often criticized police officers for those who have killed or shot unarmed Black people. Even though in all times he has even called for law enforcement for holding accountable for all those incidents, he never suggested everything should be done with force.
James said after the Laker’s 114-106 loss to the Denver Nuggets, “No, not even one time I mentioned, let us act violently towards cops.” It was on Tuesday, and he was in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. James added “I just said that whatever happening currently in the country is not okay. Meantime we fear everything, and we fear for our lives too. In the current situation, it is something we are living and going through every single day being a Black man, a Black kid, a Black woman, and a Black girl. We fear for such moments when we are pulled over.” Alex Villanueva, Los Angeles County Sheriff, called James last week. Alex called him to match the $100,00 reward, and it was towards an effort to find and catch the gunman responsible for shooting LA County sheriff deputies. But, James responded, saying, “On the sheriff, I have zero response.”
Vanessa, Kobe Bryant’s widow, filed a lawsuit against Villanueva last week. She also filed it against LA County and the sheriff’s department over alleged photos that deputies took of Kobe. They also shared those photos of Kobe and his daughter, who is 13-year old. They shared photos when Kobe and his daughter Gianna died after a helicopter crash in January. But, James never mentioned or referred to the Bryant incident. But, he has expressed empathy for those two injured deputies. Meantime he also strongly defended regarding his critiques related to law enforcement officials. James said,
“In my 35 years, I have never condoned any violence. I have never done that. But I strongly believe and know that what wrong is wrong and what right is right. I have grown up in the inner-city and a Black community. The community is also called ‘the ghetto’ or ‘the hood’ in whatever way you want to picture it.” James grew up in Ohio and the place called Akron. He added, “In many accounts, I have witnessed those first-hand of Black people who were being racially profiled just because of their color. Throughout my life, in the last 35 years, I have seen it. I never say that all cops are the same, and they are bad. Throughout my high-school and things of the same nature, I used to be around them all the time. I can say that they are all not bad.”
James says, “But when I see the videos about what is going on currently in the country, it is happening everywhere. I can see it in my hometown, and it is also happening all over America. You can continue to see the incidents of violence towards Black people, people of my kind. I can’t stop myself but speak about everything. I can see the common denominator, and I am speaking.” Later, he also referenced the latest event in Monona, Wisconsin. In the incident, a Black man was handcuffed entirely at his own home, and he was at gunpoint. The incident took place after police responded to a call from a neighbor about him, and he was sitting on a porch. Based on the report by Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Keonte Fudge, a 23-year old and his friend moved inside their high school coach’s mother’s house. She passed away, and they moved into the house after the coach permitted them.
James says, “In the incident,the police entered the house without a warrant. Without bringing anything, they just arrested that guy. Just because a Black man sitting outside on a porch, they arrested him? If you cannot explain it as racial profiling, then explain to me what the hell I am looking at?” James added, “Here I am not condoning violence towards anyone in the country. It can be anyone of color, white people, Black people, police, anyone not of color, etc. The reason is, this is not ever going to make the country, this world or America what everyone wants it to be.” Alex Villanueva, Los Angeles County Sheriff, publicly requested LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers star, to match the reward of $175000, which was being offered to anyone who brings information on the shooting deputies. The incident resulted in two deputies being hospitalized and under treatment.
Initially, the county pledged $100000, and it also announced two private donations of $25000 and $50000, respectively, and later raised the reward amount. Now, if James matches the reward, then the total amount will be $350000. Villanueva said in a conversation with LA radio station 790 KABC, “I am making a challenge. The challenge is to James. I want James to match that, and he can even double that reward since I know he is about law enforcement. He expressed an interesting statement regarding race relations and the officers involved in the shooting. He also expressed things about the impact it made on the African-American community. I appreciate what he expressed.”
Villanueva added, “But meantime, we also need to appreciate that respect for the lives that go across races, professions, creeds, and now I want to see James step up to the plate I offered and double it.” The footage of the shooting incident has shown a lone individual approaching the sheriff’s vehicle parked just before multiple firing rounds. The firing was done through the passenger-side window. Like many other NBA players, James was also outspoken on racial and equality justice. ‘More than a Vote,’ a group that resulted in increased voter registration drives, is co-founded by James. The group was founded to address voter suppression tactics that occurred in the Black community.
Villanueva said, “Let us wait and see what he does. I am curious to see his response; he has, if any. I want people to start thinking about the big picture. They should understand that words have consequences. Rhetoric needs to be toned down in the current situation. Of course, we need to get rid of the violence, and it is obvious. We need to spend a lot of time trying to understand one another instead of continuing to condemn each other.”
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