Project 21, a project of the National Center for Public Policy Research that focuses on black leadership, is calling LeBron James a hypocrite for claiming America is a racist country while wearing the logo of an online retailer that sells Confederate merchandise.
Wish is an online platform that connects consumers with third-party sellers and offers “a wide array of Confederate-themed items including Confederate flag pillows, blankets, kids’ military uniforms, portraits of Confederate generals and even anti-COVID face masks featuring the rebel flag,” according to Project 21.
The group issued a press release calling on James to be consistent:
Despite cultivating the reputation of a social justice warrior, basketball star LeBron James and his Los Angeles Lakers teammates have hit the court with the logo of online retailer Wish on their uniforms since 2017. Members of the Project 21 black leadership network criticized James, the Lakers and the NBA for political inconsistency for their relationship of a retailer that sells products honoring the Confederacy.
“We Wish LeBron Was Consistent,” a page on Project 21’s website, features images of only a few of the many Confederate and Southern pride items that can be obtained through Wish, an e-commerce platform designed to make it easier for third-party sellers to reach customers. This includes a wide array of Confederate-themed items including Confederate flag pillows, blankets, kids’ military uniforms, portraits of Confederate generals and even anti-COVID face masks featuring the rebel flag. James and the Lakers wear the Wish logo on their uniforms – uniforms that the NBA promotes through the league’s own online store as “a call to action, a command for greatness.”
“Prior to the start of the 2017-2018 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers signed a three-season deal with Wish. Lakers Chief Operating Officer Tim Harris called Wish ‘a company that shares our commitment to giving back to the community.’ Of course, when that community is the Lakers, and it is getting $12-14 million every season for the label rights, I guess it overlooked some of the products sold by Wish that should be decried by the team’s star player,” Project 21 member Martin Baker said in the press release. “Amidst all of the controversy over the Confederate flag, will James now call out his employers – who just extended his contract through 2023 – over the products that their sponsor sells? Or is he happy just cashing his own checks? Hypocrisy, thy name is the average professional athlete.”
“Let’s face it, LeBron is a publicity hog. We all can figure LeBron hasn’t done any due diligence into the practices of Wish and probably never will,” Project 21 member Donna Jackson said. “LeBron likes to position himself as a social justice warrior, but his primary wishes are really to stay in the news cycle and to generate profits – for him and his sponsors. Since his activism has almost single-handedly tanked NBA ratings over the past two years, I’m sure this wish won’t become a reality.”
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