Former sports columnist turned right-wing media charlatan Jason Whitlock has called out NBA superstar LeBron James for being anti-American and a hypocrite regarding comments on WNBA star Brittney Griner. On his show “Fearless with Jason Whitlock”, the host said LeBron consistently misleads many idolatrous people into embracing an “anti-American sentiment.”
“I’m telling you I have not always passionately disliked LeBron James,” said Whitlock. “He’s earned this. … Choosing to mislead a large group of idolatrous people into embracing his anti-American sentiment while be baits the affection, the affinity of China. … America has blessed LeBron James. He’s pissed on America.”
— Jason Whitlock (@WhitlockJason) July 13, 2022
For just over six minutes Whitlock accuses LeBron of being a globalist with no concern for America, while simultaneously being a puppet for China and Nike. He accuses LeBron of pushing the victim mentality across all of his platforms onto Black kids, and that LeBron’s I Promise School is nothing but good public relations.
Whew, that’s a lot! How did we get here?
LeBron’s UNINTERRUPTED storytelling platform released the trailer for season 5 of “The Shop,” which airs on HBO. In the trailer you can hear Maverick Carter, LeBron’s business manager and partner in several ventures, say “Brittney Griner, she’s been detained for…” and then you hear LeBron say “110 days.”
“Now, how can she feel like America has her back?” James continues in the trailer. “I would be feeling like, ‘Do I even want to go back to America?'”
This comment is apparently what has Whitlock so angry and up in arms.
The internet firestorm was enough for LeBron to issue a statement via Twitter.
“My comments on ‘The Shop’ regarding Brittney Griner wasn’t knocking our beautiful country,” James tweeted Monday night. “I was simply saying how she’s probably feeling emotionally along with so many other emotions, thoughts, etc inside that cage she’s been in for over 100+ days! Long story short #BringHerHome.”
Here’s a little inside television production tip for everyone. When a trailer is released for a show or series, the recording of the content happens well before the trailer release.
As of the date of the trailer release, July 12th, Griner has been detained in Russia for 152 days. Quick math says this particular clip was recorded over a month ago.
The other key when making a trailer, teasing the release of something, is to include content that’s going to stimulate the senses. You want to get your intended audience or even people who may not watch to tune in.
What often happens as a result of the editing process is quotes and segments are presented without their full context.
“The Shop” is a conversation-style show borrowed from the way conversations happen inside barbershops. Particularly Black barbershops. If you’ve ever spent time at a Black barbershop you know conversations touch on sports, politics, and culture and there is no shortage of opinions and theories being spouted. But there is always context.
We have no idea what was said prior to LeBron’s comment about America having Griner’s back or what the rest of his comment was, or if someone offered a rebuttal and he responded again. We haven’t seen the episode.
To call LeBron anti-American and say that he’s pushing an anti-American sentiment is disingenuous. But that’s Whitlock’s bag.
He hosts a show for Blaze Media, which describes itself as, “conservative news and entertainment for people who love America.” If the Blaze Media has a target or an enemy that person must be anti-American, that’s the whole bit.
LeBron is catnip for “right-wing, conservative, pro-American” media and their zealots. He speaks out on racial injustice, he’s anti-Donald Trump, and is a wealthy Black man in America. That’s the trifecta for a group of people that prefer he just stick to sports and be grateful to America for allowing him to have what he does.
Is LeBron perfect? Far from it. His silence on human rights violations in China and the Tamir Rice shooting which took place in Cleveland when he was a member of the Cavaliers has been noted.
But are those reasons to condemn him “anti-American”? LeBron’s silence over China has everything to do with Nike and the NBA, the companies that pays him the most money. Well that would make LeBron a capitalist. What’s more American than that?