LeBron James said he doesn’t condoned violence against police in a recent interview. However, his critics claim his rhetoric could inspire someone to attack officers.
“I’ve never in my 35 years ever condoned violence. Never have,” the Los Angeles Lakers star said Tuesday following his team’s playoff loss to the Denver Nuggets.
A reporter asked LeBron James if putting a spotlight on police brutality could incite violence against law enforcement.
A lone gunman ambushed two LA County Sheriff deputies while they sat in a patrol car in Compton, Calif., on Sept. 12, according to the NY Post. They were both shot multiple times and were rushed to the hospital in critical condition. However, they both survived, though they have a long road of recovery ahead of them, KTLA reported.
As of Sept. 23, no arrests have been made.
Conservative firebrand Candace Owens implicated James and other celebrities in this case. She tweeted attacks such as the one in Compton were the “natural result” or their “hyperbolic, dishonest rhetoric.”
A reward of $175,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest in the shooting. Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva challenged LeBron James to double that reward amount.
James said Tuesday he had “zero comment,” on Villanueva’s challenge.
James seeks to use his platform for good
Since the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the shooting of Jacob Blake, James has been very public about his frustrations. Though it isn’t without its backlash. Several people say they’ll no longer watch the NBA because of players like James who have taken political positions. Ratings for the NBA playoffs are way down this year, and “players playing politics” is one of the driving factors.
President Donald Trump has tweeted his frustrations about it.
But James hasn’t let the backlash stop him from what he feels is the right thing to do. He lends his name to campaigns working to register Americans to vote. He’s open about his politics. He’s seen as one of the most important athletes in the discussion of racial and social injustice in America.
James has been one of the loudest athletes to condemned police brutality and violence. He’s said the police “terrified” black Americans.
“I’m not saying that all cops are bad because I actually, throughout high school and things of that nature and I’m around them all the time and they’re not all bad,” James said Tuesday.
“But, when you see the videos that’s going on and you can see all over the, not only my hometown, 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.”