LeBron James, Lakers Post Message: 'If YOU Ain't Wit US, WE Ain't Wit Y'ALL'
LeBron James and his Lakers teammates all posted the same message to their individual Instagram accounts Sunday evening: "If YOU ain't wit US, We ain't with Y'ALL!"
The players posted that message in response to widespread protests in many cities across the nation, including Los Angeles, following the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old black man, by a white police officer in Minneapolis on Monday.
Floyd died after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for eight minutes despite him saying multiple times that he couldn't breathe. His crime? Allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill at a local market.
James has been very active on social media since Floyd's death, denouncing systemic racism and demanding change.
James asked "Why doesn't America love us" in a tweet and posted videos of speeches by Atlanta rapper Killer Mike, which he called "mandatory listening" and Jimmy Kimmel, which he said moved him to tears.
He posted a video of 12-year-old Keedron Bryant singing an emotional song "I just want to live" and a story by former President Barack Obama in which he discusses some ways activists can effect real change.
James also questioned why the riots, looting and fires were being highlighted instead of the peaceful protests across the nation.
The Lakers superstar posted a photo of himself wearing a T-shirt with the words "I can't breathe" which he donned in 2012 following the killing of Eric Garner, a haunting reminder that nothing has changed.
And he posted a photo of Chauvin violently kneeling on Floyd's neck next to a photo of Colin Kaepernick peacefully kneeling in protest of police brutality, writing, "Do you understand NOW!!??!!?? Or is it still blurred to you?? 🤦🏾♂️ #StayWoke👁"
James has long used his massive social media following to speak out against social and societal ills. He's refused to stick to sports. He's okay with being divisive. It's fine if his words upset some people. He's willing to advocate for what he thinks is right. What he believes is just.
After James discussed President Donald Trump in a video for UNINTERRUPTED in 2018, Fox News host Laura Ingraham dismissed his words as "barely intelligible" and "ungrammatical," adding that he should "shut up and dribble."
James fired back during All-Star media day, saying, "I will definitely not do that. I mean too much to the youth. I mean too much to so many kids who feel like they don't have a way out."
James' message has been steady ever since.
And his post Sunday reiterated that sentiment.
If he alienates people, fine. He's going to stand up against racism anyway.
"If YOU ain't wit US, We ain't with Y'ALL!"