Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James encouraged the city's residents to support his team as they protest the acquittal of police officer Michael Brelo.
Brelo, who is white, was found not guilty Saturday of voluntary manslaughter in the 2012 killing of two unarmed African Americans. Brelo fired a total of 49 shots at Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams during and after a 22-mile car chase.
"For the city of Cleveland, let's use our excitement or whatever passion that we have for our sport tomorrow for the game tomorrow night, bring [the passion] to the game tomorrow night, and as our team, we'll try to do our best to give it back to them," James told reporters Saturday, according to ESPN.com.
"Violence is not the answer, and it's all about trying to find a solution for good or for bad," he added. "For me, in any case, anything that goes on in our world or in our America, the only people that we should be worried about [are] the families that's lost loved ones. You can't get them back. You can never get them back. We should worry about the families and how they're doing and things of that nature."
Protests in Cleveland have been peaceful thus far, according to Cleveland.com.
James declined to comment on the specifics of the Brelo case, saying he was not familiar enough with it.
James has spoken out on social issues before. In December, following a New York grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner, James joined other NBA players in wearing a t-shirt with the phrase "I can't breathe."
- Dan Gartland