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Walking Out

Updated: Aug 28, 2020

The Milwaukee Bucks, Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder of the NBA walked out last night in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinnati Reds, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants of MLB boycotted their games as well.

Regardless of how the legality of the incident shakes out, the shooting of Jacob Blake is a tragedy, as was the killing of George Floyd and Breanna Taylor.

LeBron James said the other day in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake that he “couldn’t even enjoy a playoff win.”

Was he able to enjoy the Laker win over the Jazz on August 3, two days after the killing of 7 year old Zamar Jones, shot in the head in Philadelphia?

Was LeBron able to enjoy the Lakers win over the Nuggets on August 10, a day after 5 year old Cannon Hinnant was killed execution style by his neighbor in North Carolina?

Was he able to enjoy his 4th of July weekend considering that 6 children were shot and killed nation-wide? Did he express any outrage at the shooting death of the 8-year-old black girl Secoriea Turner in Atlanta that weekend?

LeBron has said or tweeted nothing about Zykier Young, the 1 year old black boy killed by a stray bullet in his bed Monday Night in Pittsburgh. There are no protests, no riots, no tweets to LeBron’s 40 million followers about Zykier’s tragedy. It is as if Zykier’s life didn’t matter.

These types of killings happen much more often in this country than the killings that LeBron and other professional athletes are protesting about.

Over 40 children, mostly black have been shot and killed in Chicago so far this year. Not a word from King James about it.

Over 100 children have been shot in Philadelphia so far this year. Not a word from King James about it.

If the shooting of Jacob Blake enrages you, then why doesn’t the killing of an innocent 1-year old boy? LeBron appears to care much more about the man with an outstanding warrant for sexual assault threatening people and resisting arrest over the toddler innocently asleep in his bed. I guess sexual offenders and arm robbers buy more sneakers stitched together by Chinese girls in sweatshops than 1-year old babies do.

LeBron will claim that he is standing up against the systemic killing of black men by speaking out against police shootings of unarmed black men, yet he never mentions the killing of black men by other black men. But what is more systemic, something that happens 12-15 times per year-(police shooting unarmed black men), or something that happens 2.600 times per year-(black on black murder)?

Based on the numbers, police shooting unarmed black men appear to be more sporadic than systemic while black people killing other black people can be viewed as a systemic problem in our society because it is so ubiquitous and pervasive.

If LeBron using his platform to speak out against black on black murder reduced it by just 1%, then that would be about 26 black people he would save each year which is about twice as many unarmed black men that are killed by police. But yet he remains silent on that issue.

LeBron James is not obligated or even expected to weigh in on these matters. But if he wants to use his tremendous platform and speak out against police shootings, go ahead. This is America. Exercise your freedom of speech. More power to you. But it appears very curious that he is so willing to speak out against the police killing of known-felons resisting arrest which happens very infrequently, but then is eerily silent on the killings of innocent children at the hands of black men, or on black on black murder which happens exponentially more often than the police killings he is so outspoken about. Do all black lives matter, or just the ones that are taken by the police?

The outrage of LeBron James and these other athletes is selective, and not principled which makes it very hypocritical, and their hypocrisy makes their stances political and not humanitarian. Their motives appear to be driven by a political agenda, not a humanitarian goal.

Their hypocritical, selective stances are driving many of their fans away from their game. People do not want to be politically lectured to by professional athletes. We have eyes. We have computers. We have the internet and smart phones. We see what’s happening in this country. It is shoved in our face daily. We can come to our own conclusions based on the facts at hand. Your political posturing does not change anyone’s mind. The only opinions that these athletes are changing are those of their fans to not wanting to watch their games anymore, and based on the ratings, it appears to be working.

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Judd Garrett is a former NFL player, coach and executive. He is a frequent contributer to the website Real Clear Politics, and has recently published his first novel, No Wind

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