LeBron James Again Speaks Out On Trump, But Did "Uneducated" Comment Go Too Far?
President Trump was a "common theme" for a majority of NBA teams' preseason media days yesterday, and Cavaliers F LeBron James "doubled down on his stance that the president is a 'bum,'" according to A.J. Neuharth-Keusch of USA TODAY. James said, "The people run this country. Not one individual. And damn sure not him." Neuharth-Keusch notes NBA players, coaches and other personnel have "not only come to the defense" of Warriors G Stephen Curry and the NFL, but "furthered the conversation surrounding the state of the country" (USA TODAY, 9/26). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Ben Cohen writes James' "stinging criticism" of Trump was the "most extensive and explicitly political statement of his career." The rebuke from James came two days after he called Trump a “bum” on Twitter. Once again James "refused to even address the president by name," referring to "Trump as 'that guy'" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/26).
LEADER ON SOCIAL ISSUES: ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith noted some people might say James is a "little bit late to the party because others have been speaking out for months" about Trump, but he is an "incredibly influential individual of whose soul appears to be in the right place." Smith: "To be in a position that he is in with potentially so much to lose ... he is to be applauded for it.” ESPN’s Max Kellerman said James is not "late to the party at all," and in certain ways, he "has now passed Michael Jordan." James has taken a "strong leadership stance on social issues, practically from day one" (“First Take,” ESPN, 9/26). NBA TV's Kevin McHale said NBA players have a "huge role in discussing things that are problems for America.” But McHale said he does not "want this all of a sudden to be about kneeling." It is "about issues in America and how people can come back to help each other to get through those issues" ("NBA Media Day," NBA TV, 9/25).
TAKING IT TOO FAR? NBA.com's Steve Aschburner wrote James "helped move the conversation forward," but he "might have dragged it backward, too, in suggesting that people who voted for President Trump 'made a mistake' or were 'uneducated' in casting their ballots." James "shined a light and sharpened focus on an unwieldy issue," but went into "dicey territory" with some of his comments. James said, "At the end of the day, I don’t think a lot of people was educated. And I think that’s one of the biggest problems that we have." James' remarks also "bled into his relationship" with Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert, who "donated to Trump's campaign and met with him at the White House earlier this year." Where James could meet Gilbert in "using his voice instead of his knee and encouraging the same from his peers, is in taking steps toward those highly sought constructive conversations and positive resolutions" (NBA.com, 9/25).