LeBron James criticized over deleted tweet targeting a cop, previous defense of CCP
Basketball player LeBron James posted and subsequently deleted a tweet on Wednesday about the fatal shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old Black girl in Columbus, Ohio, by a police officer. He later tried to explain why he deleted the tweet.
James’ actions on social media prompted backlash from conservatives, who brought up his previous Twitter controversy over tweets defending the Chinese government.
In the since-deleted tweet by the Los Angeles Lakers star was a picture of Columbus Officer Nicholas Reardon along with the caption, “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY,” and an hourglass emoji, according to ESPN.
In the body camera footage released by the Columbus Division of Police on Wednesday, Bryant—after numerous warnings from the officer, identified Wednesday as Reardon, to “get down”—could be seen trying to stab another person with a knife before being shot by Reardon.
Bryant was transported to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead, police said. Police did not say if anybody else was hurt.
The shooting happened on Tuesday, after former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin was convicted on two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter in the May 2020 death of George Floyd.
On Wednesday evening, James explained why he deleted his earlier post about Reardon, saying it was “being used to create more hate”.
“ANGER does any of us any good and that includes myself!” wrote James. “Gathering all the facts and educating does though! My anger still is here for what happened that lil girl. My sympathy for her family and may justice prevail!”
“I’m so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police,” James continued in a separate post. “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”
Conservatives were quick to bring up the NBA star’s previous controversy regarding his defense of China, who’s authoritarian regime has been putting Uighur Muslims in internment camps, as well as clamping down on democracy and human rights in Hong Kong.
As The Daily Caller brought up, in October 2019, James criticized Houston Rockets general manager Dayl Morey for tweeting support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, igniting a firestorm for the NBA. All of the NBA’s official partner companies in China suspended their relationships with the league and China stopped broadcasting NBA matches. It was not until October 2020 that the country started broadcasting NBA games again.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.