LeBron James has been an outspoken social justice activist during his time in the NBA.
He currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, but has a history criticizing President Donald Trump since calling the president a “bum.”
However, despite his public advocacy for social justice issues, such as promoting the Black Lives Matter movement, LeBron has remained mostly silent on the ongoing NBA-China feud. The feud began when an NBA executive tweeted support for the anti-Chinese government protests in Hong Kong, which led to various conflicting statements from the NBA office and repercussions from China. Some of the consequences for the tweet was canceling an NBA charity event in China, refusing to live stream or air preseason NBA games held in China, and Chinese companies withdrawing from partnerships and sponsorships with NBA teams.
Then, James told the media that the NBA executive, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, was “misinformed” for his tweet. James said the following:
“I just think that when you’re misinformed or you’re not educated about something — and I’m just talking about the tweet itself — you never know the ramifications that can happen. We all see what that did — not only for our league but for all of us in America, for people in China as well.”
At first glance, it appeared that James called Morey “misinformed” for supporting pro-democracy protests against the Chinese government in Hong Kong. Considering James and the NBA have significant financial investments in China, his comment would appear to demonstrate James’s concern for his brand and financial investments rather than democracy and free speech.
James backtracked his comments on social media, tweeting out, “Let me clear up the confusion. I do not believe there was any consideration for the consequences and ramifications of the tweet. I’m not discussing the substance. Others can talk About that.”
James later told the press and highlighted his financial concerns about Morey’s tweet and the backlash from it, saying, “I don’t want to get into a word or sentence feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand and he spoke. So many people could have been harmed, not just financially but physically, emotionally, spiritually.” James added, “So just be careful what we tweet and what we say and what we do, even though yes, we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that too.”
Although CNN did an adequate job of providing the background of Morey’s tweet, the NBA-China feud, and LeBron James’s comments and clarifications, it did not specifically tell its audience that James’s comments were hypocritical and that he was flip-flopping on free speech when it came to China.
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