Following a grand jury’s verdict not to bring charges against the Cleveland police officers who are culpable in the deadly shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, writer and activist Tariq Touré created the Twitter hashtag #NoJusticeNoLebron, calling on Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James to sit out in protest of the case’s outcome.
After the Cavaliers’ 93–87 victory over the Denver Nuggets Tuesday, James spoke about the issue.
“For me, I’ve always been a guy who’s took pride in knowledge of every situation that I've ever spoke on. And to be honest, I haven’t really been on top of this issue. So it’s hard for me to comment,” James said, according to ESPN. “I understand that any lives that [are] lost, what we want more than anything is prayer and the best for the family, for anyone. But for me to comment on the situation, I don’t have enough knowledge about it.”
Although he had briefly heard about activists’ call for his help, James said he was also not completely aware of the social media movement that had sparked online.
“I caught a little bit of it from my folks on the side saying that you guys might ask me about it, but I have no knowledge,” James said. “I'm not much of a social media guy. I’m on it, for sure, but I’m not always looking at what’s going on in it.”
James has lent his voice to social issues in the past. In 2012, he was part of a photo featuring the entire Miami Heat team wearing hooded sweatshirts similar in style to the one Trayvon Martin was wearing when he was controversially shot by George Zimmerman. James then took to social media to post the photo alongside the hashtag #wearetrayvonmartin. He also wore a t-shirt featuring the words “I can’t breathe” in support of Eric Garner, who was killed after a struggle with police last July.
LeBron went on to say that there are many issues that hit home for him that he has not spoken out about, such as the San Bernardino shooting, but that he only publicly discusses such matters when he feels he possesses the knowledge to do so.
James also stressed the importance of examining the issue beyond the scope of one person.
“But I think the most important thing that we all need to understand, the most important thing, this issue is bigger than LeBron,” James said. “This issue is bigger than me. It’s about everyone. And gun violence and tragedies and kids losing lives at a young age, some way, somehow we need to understand that that matters more than just an individual.”
- Xandria James