By: Zach Draves
A certain segment of the American electorate is hellbent on destroying LeBron James.
They are trying to delegitimize, dehumanize, and discredit him.
Doing so because they have an irrational fear of black athlete autonomy.
In other words, an outspoken and unapologetically black athlete who stands their ground scares the hell of out them.
This is nothing new.
Muhammad Ali, Tommie Smith/John Carlos, Bill Russell, Arthur Ashe, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Curt Flood, Mahmoud Abdul Rauf, Craig Hodges, Serena Williams, and others went through the same.
Whenever a black athlete has the audacity to challenge the status quo and are unquestionably proud of their blackness, it shakes white America to the core.
That leads to LeBron.
He has been quite clear in his principled objections to state-sanctioned violence against black people.
(Courtesy: Chicago Tribune)
In addition to his work around voting rights and educational equality.
(Courtesy: The Nation)
He doesn’t hold back, nor should he.
LeBron has made it clear that he will not be whitewashed or watered down.
Los Angeles Sherriff Alex Villanueva doesn’t understand that.
In the aftermath of the horrific shooting of two LAPD officers by an unknown assailant, you would think that Sherriff Villanueva would be doing what a Sherriff is expected to do.
Find the suspect, charge said suspect and put said suspect behind bars forever.
Instead, he chooses to pick a fight with LeBron.
As if to say LeBron was involved.
He challenged him to pony up around $350,000 in reward money to catch the suspect.
There are currently two private pledges total $75,000 as well as an additional $100,000 from LA County.
But here is the other issue.
The LAPD’s budget is well with in excess of $3 billion.
They could easily pony up $350,000 in a reward and still, plenty change left over.
But this particular Sherriff is choosing to become a political beast in order to boost his ego and get on right-wing media to brag that he is essentially putting a black man in check.
Which goes to show that he is not serious about this case and not in the least bit interested in actually fulfilling his obligations.
His record speaks for itself.
According to different articles in the Los Angeles Times:
- He has rehired officers who were fired for excessive force and domestic violence
- He downplayed racist deputy gangs in his office by deeming it “hazing gone amok”
- Refused to follow through on court-ordered reforms to combat jail abuse
- A draconian approach toward immigrant communities
- He failed to cooperate with the Inspector General and other watchdog groups
- Engages in troubling hiring practices
Not to mention that the county has spent $81.5 million on litigation costs and payouts.
Furthermore, this is the same Sherriff who is accused of staging a cover-up of deputies taking and sharing pictures of the crash scene where Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others perished in January.
A charge that has led Kobe’s widow Vanessa Bryant to file a lawsuit against the LAPD.
Vanessa herself issued a statement condemning the Sherriff for his “challenge” toward LeBron.
Vanessa Bryant has questions for LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who challenged Lakers star LeBron James to double a reward for the capture of the gunman who ambushed two deputies in Compton. https://t.co/vPa35U3cBU pic.twitter.com/W7jDgkTEoI
— CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) September 15, 2020
It is unknown whether LeBron is aware of Sherriff’s history.
But if he found out about what his deputies did in the aftermath of Kobe’s death under his watch, it is safe to say that LeBron will not take that lying down.
Especially given the strong bond the two shared.
It was a despicable act that led to the shootings of two innocent police officers who are thankfully still alive.
We all want justice to be served and for the suspect to be caught.
The Sherriff is not helping by being irresponsible and reckless.
It is not LeBron’s fault.
This is just another desperate attempt to silence a prominent voice from the broader discussion on racial justice.
At the end of the day, LeBron is not backing down.
He will not be boxed into a corner.
He will not bend the knee to certain people in order to make them comfortable and prideful in their ignorance.
Sherriff Villanueva, do LeBron a solid.
Solve the case and do so by leaving him the hell alone.