LeBron James commented on the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida where 17 people were killed by a lone gunman, a former student of the school. He like many left-wingers (i.e. social activists) are calling for stricter gun control measures. Fox News host Laura Ingraham went on her television program and said James should “shut up and dribble” and not comment on matters pertaining to the United States. The all-star and 3-time NBA champion responded to her saying he will continue to speak his mind and will not let anyone tell him what to say. Anyone, LeBron?
Two-time Super Bowl Champion Chris Long (son of Football Hall of Famer Howie Long) came to the aid of James. He too argued about having the right speak their minds and had some choice words for Ingraham. The reaction to Ingraham’s criticism of James is beyond belief. I believe people are targeting Ingraham because she is more of a pushover and can’t take on a heavyweight like Rush Limbaugh. If there is one legit criticism of Ingraham’s comments is that she is wayyyy late to the party. I (and many others) have been telling athletes to stick to sports years before she did. All I got to say to Ingraham is, what took you so long?
The skin of James and others like him is starting to become thin. As long as I have been covering and following sports, media has always been telling athletes (past and present) to shut up and worry about their own game. Why is what Ingraham said any different? Hall of Fame basketball player and current television analyst Charles Barkley has been speaking his mind for years on a number of things, both on and off the court. He is also perhaps James’ biggest critic. There have been plenty of people telling Barkley to shut up and stick to basketball, and hardly anyone makes a big fuss over it.
Those who cover the Toronto Blue Jays have continuously told the players to get off social media, especially pitcher Marcus Stroman. Stroman is known to get very emotional when he has something to say. Many say they are tired of hearing how upset Stroman was in losing his salary arbitration case. Yet they turn around and say someone like James have a “right” to make social commentary especially if it is against the sitting President of the United States. Hypocritical? Is Donald Trump still occupying the White House?
Some will say talking about politics is different from whining about a missed call by the refs. I would tend to agree with that. The big difference though is the latter is about the game, the former is a subject that has no connection to the game. There is nothing wrong about making a lot of noise about a dirty hit by a player even if it was clean to begin with and you have no case from the start. Something like politics on the other hand is another matter. Everyone has an opinion (like me) and they think theirs is the most important. One exception could be if that player (or coach or manager) has a personal experience or first-hand account of the issue. Otherwise, if you are reacting to something that you heard from someone else, I say who cares. Your opinion is no more important than mine. And if you want to keep opening your yap, I will continue to tell you to zip it.