LeBron James had some tough words to say about the Daryl Morey-Hong Kong Tweet on Monday night when he spoke to the media.
James and the Los Angeles had just come off of a two-game stint with the Brooklyn Nets in Shanghai on Oct. 10 and 12 before returning home to face Golden State in Los Angeles. The Lakers forward was finally able to give his thoughts on the infamous Tweet, and we ended up with this polarizing soundbite:
“I don’t want to get into a ... feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand, and he spoke. And so many people could have been harmed not only financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually. So just be careful what we tweet and say and we do, even though, yes, we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that, too.”
James later added to his comments, seemingly doubling down on Morey’s knowledge of the “situation.”
“I believe he was either misinformed or not really educated on the situation, and if he was, then so be it. I have no idea, but that is just my belief. Because when you say things or do things, if you are doing it and you know the people that can be affected by it and the families and individuals and everyone that can be affected by it, sometimes things can be changed as well. And also social media is not always the proper way to go about things as well, but that’s just my belief.”
After some time of letting those comments sit and stew, or maybe in an effort of damage control, James took to social media to clarify his comments.
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.— LeBron James (@KingJames) October 15, 2019
In short, James claims that he meant Morey actually didn’t consider what his Tweet would mean to the league and its players, and actually rebukes the notion of him ever talking about the actual protests in Hong Kong.
In a second Tweet he says this:
My team and this league just went through a difficult week. I think people need to understand what a tweet or statement can do to others. And I believe nobody stopped and considered what would happen. Could have waited a week to send it.— LeBron James (@KingJames) October 15, 2019
This idea actually tracks well with what he was saying earlier. Morey sent off the Tweet on Oct. 4; the Lakers and Nets had to be in China the very next week amidst the turmoil of the protests and the league’s tension with the country.
According to a report from ESPN, commissioner Adam Silver held a meeting with both teams last week where “several prominent players voiced frustration about their perception that they were being put in the middle of the dispute between the NBA and China.” As we saw with James Harden, players have been put in the front lines of a very delicate and serious political situation — one that most players aren’t interested in answering.
And since we are a blog and we voice ourselves often on here, I will say that I hate this Tweet sent out from our account (editor’s note: See, we don’t always all agree on everything here at TDS, but that’s what makes our site great. All of our views have the opportunity for and deserve equal air time).
LeBron literally has a show on HBO where they break down social injustices in America and how the system is letting people and children here down, but fuck all those people facing injustice in Hong Kong I guess because $$$— The Dream Shake (@DreamShakeSBN) October 15, 2019
This Tweet appears to be the consensus of every “what about” guy on NBA Twitter.
I think that there may be a certain level of hypocrisy here from James (only if his initial comment is actually how he feels), but even then the level of responsibility given to him on speaking out is disingenuous. The truth of the matter is that it seemed like a lot of NBA fans didn’t care about the situation in China to begin with until Morey got push back from the league. And in that time since the Tweet, political parties that typically don’t align with the beliefs of the NBA, its players, and its causes are suddenly expecting them to speak out, only now that it’s convenient for them to like vocal NBA players.
Even James himself said that he’s not privy on the protests, but was still expected to talk about it. He said:
“I think when we talk about the political side, it was a very delicate situation, a very sensitive situation. And for me personally, you guys know that when I speak about something, I speak about something I’m very knowledgeable about, something I’m very passionate about. I feel like with this particular situation, it was something not only I was not informed enough about ... I just felt like it was something that not only myself or my teammates or my organization had enough information to even talk about it at that point in time, and we still feel the same way.”
We are now expecting black men who speak on behalf of disenfranchised minority groups in America, especially black Americans - not just “people and children” as our Tweet notes - to suddenly become experts on a situation they have no involvement in, taking place in another country, and speak out for an entire nation. I’m not saying what was said here was right, but I am saying that these men are not, and should never be, your authority on diplomatic relations. We’re not even giving James the benefit of the doubt that he truly was addressing only Morey sending the Tweet and nothing more. James’ words, when he not only clarifies what he meant, but seems to backtrack on, are now being used an a vehicle to delegitimize his platform and social causes. James can both be not well informed on the protests, while still being active in his community and against social injustice at home.
The truth is that a single person caused the storm, and now the players are paying for it, putting their money and livelihood on the line for him and everyone who wants them to speak out. And like James said, there’s a good chance Morey never considered how it would affect everyone else.