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Not many athletes have as much pull in the national media as LeBron James.
Everything from politics to Thursday Night Football is familiar territory for the King. So when his former teammate and fellow NBA athlete Kyrie Irving was going through some off court issues, he let his opinion be known, which is par for the course for the Laker veteran.
He has never backed away from a question nor but his tongue on an issue. So when he wasn’t asked about the current big social sports calamity involving Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, he wasn’t too happy about it. The issue in question is a photo from 1957 where a young Jones is pictured in a crowd of white students trying to prevent black students from desegregating a Little Rock High School.
On Wednesday night after a 128-105 win over the Portland Trailblazers, James let out his frustration over the media not asking about the photo of Jones. James addressed the media saying, “I was wondering why I haven’t gotten a question about the Jerry Jones photo. But, when Kyrie [Irving] thing was going on you guys were quick to ask those questions about it.”
James continued to vent his frustration with the apparent double standard. “When I watched Kyrie talk and he says, ‘I know who I am, but I want to keep the same energy when we’re talking about my people and the things that we have been through,’ that Jerry Jones photo is one of those moments that our people, black people, have been through in America. And I feel like as a Black man, as a Black athlete, as someone with power and a platform, when we do something wrong, or something that people don’t agree with, it’s on every single tabloid, every single news coverage, it’s on the bottom ticker.”
Jame’s particularly took issue with the way the Jones situation did not catch the media’s attention they way the Kyrie Irving situation did. “It seems like to me that the whole Jerry Jones situation, photo and I know it was years and years ago and we all make mistakes, I get it. But it seems like it’s just been buried under, like, ‘Oh, it happened. OK, we just move on.’ And I was just kind of disappointed that I haven’t received that question from you guys.”
That statement is as impactful as any because it not only points out a glaring flaw in media, myself included.
Often times issues that arise that don’t seem like a big deal get pushed aside for the proverbial, “elephant in the room.” It gets pushed to the front of the line for every news outlet and tabloid. Every beat writer and columnist takes a crack at it, and high-gravity figures like LeBron James get bombarded with questions about it. This happens especially with issues regarding the black community.
Whether Jerry Jones was just a curious 14 year old kid or one of many antagonists, this issue should get just as much attention.
Players like LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and others should be given the option of answering questions about it and thus pushing it to the forefront of the public’s minds.
As media it’s our job to not only get news and information out but also be unbiased in our approach. Every issue, quote, and tagline should be treated the same no matter the subject matter.
LeBron James made sure to remind the media that we should take a look in the mirror and be better than we were.