A bar owner in Cincinnati told patrons via social media last week they shouldn’t come to his place if they want to sit and watch an NBA game as long as Los Angeles Lakers star Lebron James is still in the league.
“If anyone wants to watch an NBC game, don’t come to Linnie’s Pub. We will not air them until Lebron James has been expelled from the NBA,” bar owner Jay Linneman said in a Facebook post.
If anyone wants to watch an NBA game, don’t come to Linnie’s Pub. We will not air them until Lebron James has been expelled from the NBA.
Linneman’s post on Wednesday came after the NBA legend tweeted what many considered to be a threat to a Columbus, Ohio police officer, Nicholas Reardon, after she shot and killed knife-wielding 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant a split second before she stabbed another teen girl.
“YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY,” James tweeted along with a photo of Reardon on the same day that jurors found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of second- and third-degree murder as well as second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd in May 2020.
James deleted the tweet, but in doing so, he nevertheless appeared to still blame Reardon. “I took the tweet down because its [sic] being used to create more hate,” he wrote on Twitter. “This isn’t about one officer. It’s about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism.”
Linneman defended his decision, echoing what countless other fans have said as their favorite sports as leagues became more politicized last year than at any time in recent memory following Floyd’s death.
“They just need to play the game and that’s it. Their opinion doesn’t really matter. They’re using their position to push their opinions, and that’s just not right,” he said, according to The Hill.
The bar owner’s decision drew a mocking response from James.
“Aww Damn! I was headed there to watch our game tonight and have a drink! Welp,” he wrote on Twitter.
Aww Damn! I was headed there to watch our game tonight and have a drink! Welp. 🥴 https://t.co/RRfRksjckM
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 24, 2021
James’ tweet drew a great deal of backlash, not the least of which came from the former president, Donald Trump.
“LeBron James should focus on basketball rather than presiding over the destruction of the NBA,” Trump said in a statement last week. “His RACIST rants are divisive, nasty, insulting, and demeaning. He may be a great basketball player, but he is doing nothing to bring our Country together!”
The shooting involving Reardon has been cited by many Americans as a textbook example of how police officers save lives every day, but voices on the left, and in particular those of color, have said it was just the latest example of allegedly “systemic” racist policing.
But not all black voices agreed with James.
Interestingly, former NFL star O.J. Simpson, who was involved in a high-profile murder case involving the death of his wife in the 1990s, said he disagreed with James’ take.
“I’m a fan of LeBron … but you can’t fight every battle. You’ve got to pick your battles. It’s a war that must be fought, but sometimes you need to take your time and be a little more patient before you comment on some of these bad incidents that are happening with some police departments,” Simpson said last week.
“What I saw when I saw the full thing, the police guy had no choice, he responded. We wish he could have pulled a taser, we wish he could have done it in another way, but in that instance, if he hadn’t done what he did, it appears to me that another young American would have had her life taken,” he added.
Former NFL Marcellus Wiley also dunked on James.
“I want to actually pray that his profoundness … will one day match the power of his platform. He should have passed in this moment. Wait for it to come and then you’ll be able to see things clearer. But this is what happens when you want to be first, not right,” he said. “I don’t care how smart you are if you don’t stop and think. Lebron James, he failed in that moment.”
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