Following Tuesday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets, LeBron James refused to comment directly to a reporter’s question about a recent challenge issued by an L.A. County sheriff related to the shooting of two deputies.
The sheriff called upon James to match a police reward for information regarding the apparent ambush, which occurred earlier this month.
However, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar did take the opportunity to restate his position on police reform in the United States while dismissing any insinuation that he supports violence toward police officers.
“I’ve never, in my 35 years, ever condoned violence. Never have,” James told reporters postgame. “But I also know what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong. I grew up in an inner city, in a Black community … and I’ve seen a lot of counts, firsthand, of a lot of Black people being racially profiled because of our color. I’ve seen it throughout my whole life.
“And I’m not saying that all cops are bad. … I’m around them all the time and they’re not all bad. But when you see the videos that’s going on, and you can see that – not only in my hometown but all over America – you continue to see the acts of violence against my kind, I can’t do nothing but speak about it. And see the common denominator.
“But not one time have I ever said, ‘Let’s act violent toward cops.’ I just said that what’s going on in our community is not OK. And we fear for that, we fear for our lives. It’s something we go on every single day – as a Black man, and a Black woman, and a Black kid, a Black girl – we fear that moment where we’re pulled over.”
James cited an incident in Monona, Wisconsin, that recently came under renewed scrutiny due to a pending civil rights lawsuit. On June 2, a neighbor called the police after seeing Keonte Furdge, a 23-year-old Black man, sitting on the front porch of his own home, which resulted in officers detaining Furdge at gunpoint in the house.
Furdge’s former high school football coach had given him permission to stay at the property for two months. According to Furdge’s suit, the officers who arrived at the house entered without announcing their presence, contacting the house’s owner, or getting a warrant, and ultimately handcuffed him before realizing their error.
“If you can’t tell me that’s not racial profiling, then I don’t know what the hell we’re looking at,” James said Tuesday. “But I do not condone violence toward anyone – police, Black people, white people, anyone of color, anyone not of color – because that’s not going to ever make this world or America what we want it to be.”
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