FLORIDA – NBA superstar LeBron James is facing continuing attacks for his anti-police rhetoric, this time from the students at the University of Florida who called him “hypocritical” for using police escorts.
Campus Reform reporter Leana Dippie posted a YouTube video asking students if they agreed with the basketball star’s recent comments denouncing police.
Several students said they agreed some degree of police reform was needed but agreed that James’ use of police escorts for his personal security and protection was hypocritical.
James has been open and vocal about his anti-police views. As recently as April 21, he tweeted:
“ I’m so damn tired of seeing black people killed by police. I took the tweet down because it’s 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.”
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
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 21, 2021
Despite his harsh words for police, the basketball celebrity seems to trust and depend on the police for his own safety.
In 2013, he was photographed walking through the streets of Chicago surrounded by a personal escort of police officers.
Chicago is a dangerous town. someone could have sent a hitman to kill Lebron no joke. pic.twitter.com/CKngXt05sc
— NBA Tweets (@VinceCarterSon) May 13, 2013
Again in 2013, “the King” used a police escort complete with blocking traffic to get to a concert. TMZ reported that on the way to a Jay Z and Justin Timberlake concert in Miami, James received a police escort on the wrong side of the road to beat the traffic.
James even memorialized praise of the officers for the traffic assist in an Instagram video captioned:
“They treat us so well! Needed it cause (sic) traffic was nuts!!”
“They treat us so well! Needed it cause traffic was nuts!!” after a POLICE escort to a concert…then this WTF pic.twitter.com/UkydHgsCYZ
— Eazy E (@pinoy789) December 25, 2014
Students at the University of Florida were not happy with the Los Angeles Lakers player. Asked if James was engaging in hypocrisy, one student said:
“I guess so, but I don’t really think that much, because I think he was referring to (the) general public, and, like, public police forces. I see the point, but I think he’s using that for his own security, and he knows, and he trusts them, rather than referring to, like, the public police forces done bad things for bad reasons (sic).”
When the said student was told that the police used by James were “public police,” the student changed tune:
“Yeah, I can see how, like, it can be hypocritical in some sense.”
Ridicule this fool. Strip endorsements. Ostracize this idiot. (It would happen if he were white, right?)
LeBron James accused of inciting violence with ‘YOU’RE NEXT’ tweet targeting Columbus police officer
— Graham Ledger (@GrahamLedger) April 22, 2021
Another student said initially that he agreed with James that there were problems within policing that needed to be changed:
“Yeah, there is a lot of systemic violence involved with the system. I believe that the way the system is structured does attribute to that.”
However, when given a little more information regarding James’ security practices, the student shifted his opinion:
“I think that, in some sense, the extent that he went to could be hypocritical.”
The same student said that James, like many celebrities, is out of touch with average Americans:
“The amount of money, and the amount of influence that they have is not at all correlated with basically what the average person experiences. Their experience is going to be much different, so I don’t think they can comment on what the average person does, compared to what they do.”
Several other students had similar reactions to the questions posed by Campus Reform.
James received backlash last month after tweeting a photograph of a Columbus, Ohio police officer who was present during the shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant, who was attacking another girl with a knife. James wrote in the post, ”YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY,” in all-caps. He soon after deleted the post.
@NBA James posted a tweet with the officer’s picture & wrote,“You’re next #ACCOUNTABILITY.”-“LeBron James sent that tweet out to over 50 million followers to incite violence is basically what that tweet did,”McBride told Laura Ingraham. He should be fired for racist violent tweet pic.twitter.com/Vz1T79x1d1
— JuJu (@Ju26ju) April 30, 2021
Following the tweet, police across the country started to satirize James in Tik Tok and other social media posts, expressing the opinion of law enforcement that the basketball player should leave policing to law enforcement professionals.
THis is what wokeness does to you very funny .😂😂 https://t.co/Gci6GaF6A1
— Ruturaj (@Ruturj1) April 30, 2021
James has not commented on the Campus Reform video.
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Twitter not taking action against LeBron James’ ‘You’re Next’ tweet (despite action taken against conservatives)
April 27, 2021
Following the controversy of a tweet made by LeBron James that angered many due to it being perceived as a form of targeted harassment, or generally threatening language, by some, Twitter has announced that they will not be taking any action against the NBA star.
The reason cited by Twitter was that since James already deleted the tweet, there’s nothing to address at this point.
— Beri (@sniffydogs) April 27, 2021
In a now-deleted tweet from April 20th, LeBron James posted a photo of the officer that officials say fatally shot 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant in Ohio that very same day.
The officer-involved shooting of Bryant has garnered a copious amount of media attention and speculation, predominantly focused on the morality aspect of fatally shooting a juvenile that also happened to have been armed with a knife and attacking another young woman.
April 20th was a day rife with media-traffic, as not only was that the day Bryant was fatally shot by police in Ohio, but it was also the same day the guilty verdict was rendered in the trial of Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd.
Taking the situational context of all the aforementioned into account, LeBron James had decided to share a screenshot of the officer who reportedly shot Bryant on April 20th (before the department released the identity of said officer) and captioned that photo with the words “You’re Next #ACCOUNTABILITY.”
It did not take long for James’ tweet to start generating news headlines as well as garnering responses from an amalgamation of public figures and notable people.
After additional details regarding the critical incident in Ohio were released publicly that showcased that Bryant was armed with a knife while attacking a young lady, the criticism toward James’ tweet only increased.
The utilization of the words “You’re Next” that was accompanied by the image of the Columbus Police officer has spawned all sorts of interpretations of what James meant when tweeting that out.
For many, it seemed as though it was merely a reference to the guilty verdict delivered in the Chauvin trial that same day – in that people merely saw it as James wanting this officer to be arrested and tried for fatally shooting the armed suspect.
Truth be told… I read that LeBron James tweet as meaning that cop should be held legally accountable for shooting and killing Ma’Khia Bryant. “You’re next” refers to the Derek Chauvin guilty verdict. pic.twitter.com/YMENLeKqmz
— Jermaine (@JermaineWatkins) April 21, 2021
He’s worth in excess of $500 MILLION courtesy of our economic system, our so-called “racist” society, and some talent playing a GAME. Yet LeBron James, is free to THREATEN an officer of the law. He should be arrested, not excused. #BoycottNBA #Hypocrisy #Lakers #NBA pic.twitter.com/6csNhpSYR7
— Arizona Republican Party (@AZGOP) April 22, 2021
For others, James’ tweet was a sort of threat directed toward the Columbus Police officer.
Nonetheless, outside of interpretations revolving around ambiguous phraseology used by James in the tweet, there is fair speculation on whether or not the now-deleted tweet infringed upon Twitter’s policies regarding abusive behaviors and targeted harassment.
But according to a statement released by the social media company, since James already deleted the tweet, Twitter is reportedly “unable” to take any action regarding James’ status on the platform:
“Our teams are unable to evaluate Tweets that have been deleted since they no longer exist on our service.”
In short, Twitter’s approach on these sorts of potential infractions can’t move in furtherance if the alleged policy violator already deleted the tweet or tweets in question that may have violated any policy. At least not if it’s a post that the mob agrees with.
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Author: Scott A. Davis
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