Friday, on ESPN2’s “First Take,” Stephen A. Smith responded to the mother of Tamir Rice calling out Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James for not speaking out about the death of her 12-year-old son. The so-called “No Justice, No LeBron” effort demanded James miss games to protest the decision not to indict the police officer who shot and killed Rice, but he has remained silent on the issue.
According to Smith, it is “incredibly unfair” of Rice’s mom to call out James because he wanted to know more information before speaking on the situation. He also reasoned that he is likely aware the country has a black attorney general and black president who have not stepped in, on top of the fact that he is a basketball player.
“For anybody out there who has lost a child, lost a loved one period, it is a devastating blow. We understand that. Having said all of that, it doesn’t make her right. And in this particular instance, I think calling out LeBron James was not only wrong but incredibly, incredibly unfair. LeBron James is one of those athletes who has not been shy about addressing sensitive issues with a level of sensitivity it deserves.”
“The FBI investigated,” he continued. “They had their video surveillance. That was thrown into the equation. The FBI answers to an attorney general who happens to be black, the 83rd attorney general nominated in the United States, Loretta Lynch; she answers to a president who happens to be black. You have all of this going on. LeBron takes all of that into consideration. He is going by what he heard but at the same time he is recognizing there are things coming out and he pauses for a second to say, I don’t know. More importantly, I can’t comment on everything. Those weren’t his words. I’m saying that. He can’t comment on everything because in the end, he’s a basketball player.”
Smith later added in the show that he understands why the officer shot Rice because of his stature and possessing a weapon that looked like a “semi-automatic weapon.” While he sympathized with the mother for losing a child, the ESPN personality ended the segment saying she is “wrong” for calling out James.
“As much as the black community didn’t like it, at least the process took place whereas it pertains to this officer someone argued that did not happen. You have different arguments but in the end none of that has anything to do with LeBron James the basketball player who is paid to play basketball, who still took it upon himself to speak on a bevy of issues that will positively affect the black community on too many occasions even for Tamir Rice’s mom to call him out. I respect her emotions, she is a mother who lost her child. My heart goes out to her. LeBron James is the wrong dude to call out on this. She was wrong. period,” he concluded.
Follow Trent Baker on Twitter @MagnifiTrent