LeBron James' sponsors, Lakers, NBA silent in wake of controversial tweet targeting Ohio cop
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The NBA, Los Angeles Lakers and many of LeBron James’ sponsors have remained silent in the aftermath of his since-deleted tweet that has been accused of inciting violence against the Columbus police officer involved in the shooting death of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, who was Black.
The four-time NBA champion is facing major backlash after he tweeted an image of one of the officers at the scene of Bryant’s shooting with the caption: “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY.”
LEBRON JAMES ACCUSED OF INCITING VIOLENCE WITH ‘YOU’RE NEXT’ TWEET TARGETING COLUMBUS POLICE OFFICER
James was slammed by critics on social media who accused him of using his platform to incite violence against the officer to his nearly 50 million followers while seemingly suggesting that the shooting was unjustified coming off the heels of the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.
Fox News has made repeated attempts to contact the NBA and the Lakers but neither has answered as of Thursday morning.
The Lakers had issued a statement on Tuesday following Chauvin’s conviction saying they were “encouraged” by his guilty verdict.
“We grieve for George Floyd’s life specifically, and the multiple racial injustices that Black people face every day in this country,” the statement read. “We will continue to use our voice to demand that our nation live up to the promise of liberty, equality, and justice for all.”
NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also released a joint statement about the conviction.
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Fox News also made attempts to reach out for comment regarding the anti-cop tweet to some of James’ sponsors, including Nike, Pepsi, General Motors, Beats Electronics and Walmart, but none have answered as of Thursday morning.
James deleted the tweet shortly after posting it and explained that he sent it out of “ANGER.”
“ANGER does any of us any good and that includes myself!” he tweeted. “Gathering all the facts and educating does though! My anger still is here for what happened that lil girl. My sympathy for her family and may justice prevail!”
He added, “I’m so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police. I took the tweet down because its being used to create more hate -This isn’t about one officer. it’s about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism. I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY.”
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Outrage over Tuesday’s deadly shooting came after police broke protocol and released bodycam footage that appeared to show the victim charging another female with a knife before being shot.
The officer was placed on administrative leave pending the investigation. Ohio state law allows police to use deadly force to protect themselves or others, and investigators will determine whether this shooting was such an instance.
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn and Edmund DeMarche contributed to this report.
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