National Basketball Association superstar and future hall of famer LeBron James recently called out the blatant double standards and hypocrisy of corporate controlled mainstream media. Mr. James, currently playing in an unprecedented 20th NBA season, questioned members of the media in a post-game press conference.
“I was wondering why I haven’t gotten a question from you guys about the Jerry Jones photo, but when the Kyrie thing was going on, you guys were quick to ask us questions about that,” he said to reporters on Nov. 30 after his Los Angeles Laker team defeated the Portland Trailblazers. Mr. James was referring to a 1957 photo in which 14-year-old Jerry Jones, the now billionaire owner of the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League, was with a group of defiant White teens who were angrily harassing and confronting Black students and blocking their path as they tried to enter Arkansas’ North Little Rock High School where they were enrolled. The Whites did not want Black students integrating the school.
Mr. Jones is now 80, with an estimated net worth of several billion dollars, and is arguably one of the most, if not the most, powerful and influential NFL owner. Mr. Jones has shrugged off his presence that day on September 9, 1957, as simply being a curious onlooker and a “curious kid.”
“When I watched Kyrie talk and he says, ‘I know who I am, but I want to keep the same energy when we’re talking about my people and the things that we have been through,’ that Jerry Jones photo is one of those moments that our people, Black people, have been through in America,” said Mr. James. He was of course referring to his former teammate and fellow NBA superstar Kyrie Irving who was suspended by the Brooklyn Nets for several games and given a list of demands for reinstatement after sharing a screenshot on his social media platform of the 2018 film, “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America.” Mr. Irving was quickly condemned and labeled anti-Semitic. News outlets quickly jumped on Mr. Irving and he and fellow players were bombarded with questions nonstop. Mr. Irving finally apologized and reportedly met the list of demands and has resumed playing.
Yet the reaction to the photo of a young Jerry Jones has not garnered a similar media reaction, something Mr. James was quick to point out.
“And I feel like as a Black man as a Black athlete as someone with power and a platform, when we do something wrong or something that people don’t agree with, it’s on every single tabloid, every single news coverage, it’s on the bottom ticker, it’s asked about every single day. But it seems like to me that the whole Jerry Jones situation, photo—and I know it was years and years ago and we all make mistakes, I get it—but it seemed like it’s been buried under like, ‘Oh, It happened. We just move on.’ And I was kind of disappointed that I haven’t received that question from you guys,” he said before exiting the postgame interview room.
While Mr. James was among Black athletes that disagreed with Kyrie Irving regarding the film, many, including James, were quick to call out the list of demands that were imposed on Kyrie, arguing it went “overboard.”
There has been no public indication that the NFL is planning any sort of review or action regarding Mr. Jones and very few White players, coaches or owners have been bombarded with questions about Mr. Jones like Black NBA players and others were asked to comment about Mr. Irving. Dak Prescott, the Cowboy’s starting quarterback who has a Black father and White mother, responded to a reporter’s question on Dec. 1 by stating in part, “I think that’s a conversation and question not only for [Jones] but for you guys and how you all feel and how accountable you all have been in covering and discussing the disparities and differences in race.”
The Dallas Cowboys owner was quick to assert his authority when former player Colin Kaepernick silently protested police brutality, racism and injustice by kneeling during the National Anthem before games. During that time Mr. Jones said in 2017 that any Cowboys players that “disrespected” the flag would not play and that, “We know that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues, but there is no question in my mind, that the (NFL) and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand up for the flag,” The Bleacher Report quoted him as saying.
Across social media, LeBron James’ observations and critique did not go unnoticed.
“Yep … great position LeBron … don’t just shut and dribble … call out the media for their inherent bias against Black Athletes…did Brady or Roger’s or any wyt QBs get asked about Farve or Jones … no because they are wyt men … period!” posted @ChewsViews on Twitter.
Longtime reporter and media personality Jemele Hill also responded. “For all those who are saying it doesn’t make sense for the media to ask LeBron about this, keep in mind he grew up as a Cowboys fan and recently said he no longer supports the Cowboys because of Jerry Jones’ response to Colin Kaepernick’s protest. LeBron is spot on,” she posted via Twitter.
Roland Martin of Roland Martin Unfiltered on the Black Star Network referred to what LeBron James pointed out as a “one minute and 40 second devastating takedown of mainstream media.”