Jerry Jones Responds To LeBron James Criticism About His 1957 Photo | Jones Wants No Smoke

07 September 2008 -Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys talks with LaBron James of the Cleveland Cavs during the Cowboys 28-10 win over the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones responded to LeBron James’ criticism of the media for not asking him about the 1957 photo of a 14-year-old Jones at a high school desegregation protest. Ironically, Jones was nothing but complimentary of “King” James.

Jones Takes The High Road 

“First of all, you have to hear me say how much I think of LeBron,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan. “I don’t know of anybody that I respect more. I don’t know of anybody that has taken every opportunity he’s had and maximized it.

“Not only [has he been] a great ambassador for sport, he has taken sports, he has taken his venues, and used those platforms; certainly, he has influence, and just because of all of the above. His accomplishments, how he’s utilized his sport and how he’s utilized his platform. How we have done it. He has enhanced basketball, he’s made a lot of people a lot of money. I hope I have too.”

After the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, during the postgame press conference, James expressed his frustrations about what he considered imbalanced coverage. James wanted to know why the media asked him about Kyrie Irving’s posting of a controversial documentary link but not about an actual photo of Jones at a racially polarized moment in history.

“When I watch Kyrie talk, and he says, ‘I know who I am, but I want to keep the same energy when we’re talking about my people and the things that we’ve been through,’ and that Jerry Jones photo is one of those moments that our people, Black people, have been through in America,” James said at the press conference. “And I feel like, as a Black man, as a Black athlete, as someone with power and a platform, when we do something wrong, or something that people don’t agree with, it’s on every single tabloid, every single news coverage, it’s on the bottom ticker.

“It’s asked about every single day. But it seems like, to me, that the whole Jerry Jones situation, photo; and I know it was years and years ago, and we all make mistakes, I get it; but it seems like it’s just been buried under, like, ‘Oh, it happened. OK, we just move on.’ And I was just kind of disappointed that I haven’t received that question from you guys.”

James Already Stopped Being A Fan Of Jones

James, a longtime Cowboys fan, announced he stopped his dedication to the team in October due to Jones’ position on kneeling during the national anthem.

“There was just a lot of things that was going on during when guys were kneeling, and guys were having freedom of speech,” James said to his business partner Maverick Carter during a conversation on Instagram Live. “They wanted to do it in a very peaceful manner. A lot of people in their front office and a lot of people that ran the organization was like, ‘If you do that around here, then you will never play for this franchise again.’ And I just didn’t think that was appropriate.”

Jerry Jones’s alma mater, North Little Rock High School, was not officially integrated until 1964. The photo of Jones standing behind a group of segregation-leaning kids during the 1957 protest was him being a “curious kid,” according to Jones.

“That was, gosh, 65 years ago, and curious kid, I didn’t know at the time the monumental event that was going on,” Jones said to a media scrum on Thanksgiving night. “I’m sure glad that we’re a long way from that. I am. That would remind me: Just continue to do everything we can to not have those kinds of things happen.”

Jerry Jones is attempting to take the high road in an unwinnable moment from his past.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.