Lakers star LeBron James’ sponsors and the league he plays for have remained silent in the wake of his tweet targeting an Ohio police officer.
On Wednesday, James tweeted a photo of a white Columbus police officer with the caption, “You’re next, #Accountability.”
But after suffering a major backlash, the player deleted the tweet and attempted to claim that he deleted it to stop people from “creating more hate” over his message.
The explanation for his removal of the tweet did not satisfy many. But regardless of whether the fans have accepted James’ reasoning, his sponsors seem unconcerned by his tweet targeting a police officer.
Thus far, sponsors and partners including Nike, 2K Sports, AT&T, Beats Electronics, Blake Pizza, Coca-Cola, GMC, KIA Motors, Nike, RIMOWA, Upper Deck, State Farm, and Walmart have remained silent over James’ threatening tweet.
Not one of James’ sponsors issued a statement about the threatening tweet, including Disney, which just finished James’ movie, Space Jam: A New Legacy.
Others, though, were outraged by the tweet.
Former Major League Baseball player Lenny Dykstra apologized on behalf of all athletes for James’ tweet.
“On behalf of pro athletes, current and former, I apologize for how #LeBronJames just showed his inner Maxine Waters and made a very real, ongoing threat to the life of the officer who quickly acted to prevent a knife attack from becoming worse. Many of us appreciate what LEOs do!” he wrote.
On behalf of pro athletes, current and former, I apologize for how #LeBronJames just showed his inner Maxine Waters and made a very real, ongoing threat to the life of the officer who quickly acted to prevent a knife attack from becoming worse. Many of us appreciate what LEOs do!
— Lenny Dykstra (@LennyDykstra) April 21, 2021
The National Fraternal Order of Police also slammed James for his attack on police, as well. The FOP said that James, “with his vast resources & influence, should educate himself and, frankly, has a responsibility to do so, on the facts before weighing in. This is disgraceful & extremely reckless.”
.@KingJames, with his vast resources & influence, should educate himself and, frankly, has a responsibility to do so, on the facts before weighing in. This is disgraceful & extremely reckless.
The officer saved a young girl's life. No amount of gaslighting will change that fact. pic.twitter.com/GTHn1VAAlf
— National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) (@GLFOP) April 21, 2021
Others were just as offended by the Laker star’s tweet:
Lebron James is inciting violence against an Ohio police officer.
This is disgraceful and dangerous.
Is the NBA okay with this? Is Twitter?
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) April 21, 2021
LeBron James doxes police officer who saved a teenage girl from being stabbed to death, demands officer be held accountable, sets new record for athlete stupidity. https://t.co/OmUXG3N3zC
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) April 21, 2021
During an appearance on Fox News Primetime, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R, TX) called James’ tweet ‘grossly irresponsible.” Chiefly, because someone could have interpreted the post as a call for violence against the officer.
It also appears as though James’ entire understanding of the incident is wrong.
As the Washington Times reports:
A body-camera image released by the Columbus Division of Police shortly after the Tuesday shooting indicates that the Los Angeles Lakers star’s interpretation of events may be objectively wrong.
The knife-wielding Ms. Bryant appeared to bear down on another woman in Columbus, Ohio, just as the officer arrived on the scene.
James’ sponsors could be keeping quiet simply because they’re too invested in the NBA great. For example, James’ deal with Nike is the second most lucrative contract the athletic apparel giant has with an athlete, second only to Michael Jordan. James signed a lifetime deal with Nike in 2015 that pays him $32 million per year.
Besides, if company’s like Nike are willing to do business with slave-labor-loving dictatorships like China, one tweet probably isn’t going to ruffle their feathers.
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