LeBron James’ Salute To DeShaun Watson Had The Twittersphere Up In Arms

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LeBron James’ football Sunday perusal included a shoutout on social media to Deshaun Watson for his stellar performance over the Washington Commanders. Many called him out for what they deem a double standard in his judgment of Jerry Jones’s kneeling stance versus Watson’s sexual assault allegations.

“Yessir D Watson!! Another one. That boy getting his rhythm back! #Browns,” James posted on Twitter.

Thin Line Between Pro Athlete And Fan

The tweet created a maelstrom online of observers who couldn’t help but point out James’ selective memory. During an Instagram Live session in October of last year with his business partner Maverick Carter, “King” James said he wasn’t a fan of the Dallas Cowboys based on owner Jerry Jones’ stance on kneeling during the national anthem. It was a jarring admission for many, as James was an avid Cowboys fan.

“Nah, man. I had to sit out on the Cowboys, man,” James said during the candid conversation. “There’s just a lot of things that were going on when guys were kneeling. Guys were having freedom of speech and wanting to do it in a very peaceful manner. The organization was like, ‘If you do that around here then you will never play for this franchise again.’ I just didn’t think that was appropriate.”

The statement was on brand for the successful athlete businessman, who is well-known for his activist stances. Deshaun Watson, who had a highly publicized departure from the Houston Texans after being accused of assaults during massage sessions, is a polarizing figure. As the lead quarterback of the Cleveland Browns and back from NFL suspension, James’ praise of his performance opens up a gray area of whether it is OK to laud his athleticism while being perceived as a predator.

The Comeback Kid?

Deshaun Watson led the Browns to victory over the Washington Commanders at FedEx Field. He used the second half to make a statement with three touchdowns, completing nine of his 18 pass attempts for 169 yards. Watson also had no interceptions in the game.

Although they are not playoff contenders and a postseason run is not possible for the Browns, Watson needed to showcase that he is worth the investment amid the controversies that Cleveland has made in him. Waston returned in Week 13 and did not have a win with multiple touchdowns since his return. Now he gave a glimpse into the future and gave Brownie fans something to look forward to for next season.

James is an athlete that was just as great in football as he was in basketball in high school. He respects athleticism above all in the sports world, and his tweet spoke strictly to that. Unfortunately, as a public figure, when you make statements that denote a moral code, it is expected that the principle extends to all with flaws.

In the past, James was criticized by media personality Laura Ingraham for his outspoken advocacy when she said, “shut up and dribble.” For James, that line became a crusade to be as transparent about his views as possible. That stance comes with rules he wasn’t prepared for, where being a professional athlete and a casually commenting fan aren’t allowed to live in the same space.

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.