Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James has finally spoken for the first time since the announcement that no indictment would be made in the shooting and death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
According to ESPN, LeBron James said that he did not say something sooner because he simply did not know enough about the case, and didn’t feel confident enough to comment. However, following the subsequent calls to sit out games as a form of protest, James spoke after the Cavaliers’ 93-87 win at Denver on Tuesday night.
“For me, I’ve always been a guy who’s took pride in knowledge of every situation that I’ve ever spoke on,” LeBron said. “And to be honest, I haven’t really been on top of this issue. So it’s hard for me to comment. I understand that any lives that are lost, what we want more than anything is prayer and the best for the family, for anyone. But for me to comment on the situation, I don’t have enough knowledge about it.”
Tariq Touré, a writer and activist, was inspired by a public figure like LeBron James speaking his mind on these issues with such passion. Tarqi took to Twitter to create the hashtag #NoJusticeNoLeBron, calling for James to protest the outcome of the Rice case and refuse to play games. Black Lives Matter activists embraced the hashtag on social media and more followers and supporters joined the movement.
“But I think the most important thing that we all need to understand, the most important thing, this issue is bigger than LeBron,” James said. “This issue is bigger than me; it’s about everyone. And gun violence and tragedies and kids losing lives at a young age, some way, somehow we need to understand that that matters more than just an individual.”
Though he did comment on the case, it appeared that LeBron was not going to sit out any games in the future in protest.
Activists question LeBron James’ position in Tamir Rice protest https://t.co/aVqZEPpG7g
— Deck Sports News (@DeckSports) January 1, 2016
LeBron James has previously spoken out about gun violence and has never been shy about voicing his opinion on current social/political issues. In the beginning of October in 2015, James was moved and appalled by the death of 5-month-old Aavielle Wakefield in a drive-by shooting. James was at home with his children when he heard news of the tragic incident.
When LeBron played in Miami, he organized a protest with all of the Heat players, who wore hooded sweatshirts for a photo shoot, protesting the death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. In December of 2014, James wore an “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirt in New York, following the death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, who was killed while being arrested.
LeBron James, along with many other players of the NBA, have been letting their voices be heard on gun violence. Stephen Curry, Carmelo Anthony and several others spoke on the issue of gun violence in a special public service announcement, filmed by Hollywood director Spike Lee. Members of Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit organization which advocates for gun control, gave their testimonials on camera, as well, discussing how the issue has affected them personally. The goal of the organization is to “support efforts to educate policy makers, as well the press and the public, about the consequences of gun violence and promote efforts to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.”
[Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images]