LeBron James Shames Sports Media Illustrating Their Double Standards

LeBron James has just unmasked America’s sports media, questioning why he hadn’t been asked about a 1957 photo of Jerry Jones
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Photos: YouTube

LeBron James has just unmasked America’s sports media, questioning why he hadn’t been asked about a 1957 photo of Jerry Jones, standing behind a white mob—who were threatening Black students.

But will these white sports reporters, and editors, learn any lesson from LeBron’s piercing critique?

On Tuesday, after the Lakers beat the Portland Trailblazers, LeBron called out the largely milk-white reporters who cover sports. In doing so, he exposed the duplicity sports media often engages in when covering controversial topics, particularly if racism is involved.

During the post-game press conference, LeBron said this: "I was wondering why I haven't gotten a question from you guys about the Jerry Jones photo. But when the Kyrie [Irving] thing was going on, you guys were quick to ask us questions about that."

LeBron was referencing the Washington Post’s publication of a 1957 photo, in Arkansas, where Jerry Jones was captured among a mob of racist whites who were trying to prevent six Black students from entering the North Little Rock High School. The students were part of an attempt to desegregate schools in the south, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling.

As an iconic superstar athlete, known for speaking out on social issues, especially regarding race, LeBron is correct in questioning why he wasn’t asked about the Jones photo. Because of LeBron, the story was made news-worthy, and many are now aware of the controversy.

If it wasn’t for LeBron this story would not be a prominent one trending right now, since the media has not held Jones’s feet to the fire, as they did to Kyrie.

Some are making the argument that because Jerry Jones is an NFL owner and LeBron James is an NBA athlete that this explains why he wasn’t asked about the photo. That assertion isn’t convincing.

For one thing, are these folks saying LeBron is only asked questions specifically related to what is happening in the NBA? As several Black sports commentators have pointed out, this is nonsense. LeBron is asked questions on a range of issues that have nothing to do with basketball.

Moreover, LeBron had recently made it known that he no longer was a Cowboys fan—particularly because of Jones' opposition to Colin Kaepernick’s decision to protest police brutality by taking a knee. Given the obvious implications of the photo, where Jones is present when white racists are terrorizing Black students, why wouldn’t sports reporters ask LeBron about that?

Most of us, who are Black, know why: racism, against Black people, has always been acceptable by a large segment of white America. That is why racism is not only surviving but is now resurging in a time of MAGA right-wing extremism.

LeBron quickly and deftly dissected the insincerity of reporters who vociferously attacked Kyrie, for posting about the ‘Hebrews to Negroes’ movie, but whose voices were less raucous regarding the racism that was evident by those who Jones was captured standing among.

Why is Jerry Jones not facing the same severe level of scrutiny that Kyrie faced?

Many say well Kyrie is a grown man and Jones was only fourteen at the time. That excuse would be fine if Jones had a different track record since then. But as has been pointed out, Jones’ organization is, currently, far from diverse and although Black athletes have made plenty of money for him, he somehow finds it hard to employ Blacks in leadership positions in his organization.

And again, his failure to speak up honestly during the crucifixion of Colin Kaepernick should be fully examined at this point. When Kaepernick was being attacked that was a lost opportunity for Jones to get off the fence and denounce racism forcefully, as has been required of Kyrie. Jones should have said he understands why Colin Kaepernick feels the way he feels—and then, he could have told the story about what happened in 1957.

But Jones showed us he doesn’t give a damn about Black people being killed by police. Let’s remember, Jones initially threaten his Black players, telling them he would not tolerate any First Amendment protest against police brutality and murder. Jones only engaged in a farcical team kneeling stunt when it became clear the winds of change were blowing against him. And Jones (along with other NFL owners including Stephen Ross, Dan Snyder, Robert Kraft and Woody Johnson) supported the most racist president of our lifetime Donald Trump.

Unlike Kyrie, an easier argument can be made that Jones harbors racist animist because of all of the aforementioned above. So, the question is why has the two-faced mainstream media been less brutal on Jerry Jones?

The answer is simple: Jerry Jones is white like most of the reporters and editors in America’s corporate press. They relate to Jones, and not to Kyrie—whose pro-Black persona, makes him an acceptable target for attack.

That is the essence of what was skillfully exposed by the comments of LeBron.

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