Here’s the thing about LeBron James…
He’s a good person. Regardless of what you think of his politics, the fact of the matter is that James’ heart is in the right place.
He’s even opened charter schools and is guaranteeing college tuition for the students that graduate, so, regardless of what you think about him, you can’t say that he doesn’t care.
However, like most people who care a little too much, he lets his emotions cloud his judgment—and when it came to the shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant, LeBron’s judgment was definitely clouded.
His response was a tweet—a simple tweet—but it started a whirlwind of anger and division.
The now-deleted post features a picture of the officer involved in the shooting (a man who actually saved a life with his actions) with the words, “YOU’RE NEXT.”
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) April 21, 2021
However, LeBron’s tweet came before any information about the shooting had been released. Missing from the discussion at that point was the fact that the officer only shot Bryant because she was actively trying to stab another young girl. That means the shooting was justified. Tragic, but justified. The bodycam footage released shortly thereafter clearly revealed the knife in Bryant’s hand at the time of the incident.
But it was too late…
Lebron had already posted the tweet, and he looked like an idiot for it.
Snap Judgements Lead To Thoughtless Reactions
He removed the tweet, but in a following explanation, he doubled down and said it was only because his tweet was creating more hatred.
I’m so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police. I took the tweet down because its being used to create more hate -This isn’t about one officer. it’s about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism. I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 21, 2021
It wasn’t logical—but as we already discussed, emotional people are rarely logical.
However, the rest of the world—Right and Left, Black and White alike—are actually coming to the cop’s defense on this one. The video clearly shows that Bryant was in a rage and was trying to stab and kill another girl, and it’s apparent in the video.
However, LeBron has yet to apologize to the officer he threatened. He has yet to take the accountability he so desperately wants from others.
So, to point out what he did wrong, an officer in the NYPD was forced to explain to him why he was wrong in an open letter.
Officer Deon Joseph wrote on Facebook:
I am not going to come at you from a place of hatred. There will be no name calling. I was raised to see the whole of a human being. Not to hyper focus on their flaws or make said flaws the whole of who they are. I’m an honest man.
What you do for children, and other acts of charity shows a huge heart. You show to be a family man, and that’s to be respected. You play for the team my family has cheered for since the 1960s, then myself since 1979. But… Your current stance on policing is so off base and extreme. Your tweet that targeted a police officer in Ohio who saved a young woman’s life was irresponsible and disturbing. It showed a complete lack of understanding of the challenge of our job in the heat of a moment. You basically put a target on the back of a human being who had to make a split second decision to save a life from a deadly attack.
A decision I know he and many others wish they never had to make. Especially when it involves someone so young.
Instead of apologizing, you deflected. You said you took your tweet down because you did not want it to be used for hate, when the tweet itself was the embodiment of hatred, rooted in a lack of understanding of the danger of the situation.
I don’t know if this will ever reach you, but my hope is that one day I can sit down with you and talk. As a man of faith, I can have no hatred toward you. But I do feel I can help you understand the reality of the profession of policing, and that there is another side you need to hear. You are tired of Black folks dying? So am I. You hate racism and police brutality? So do I. But you cannot paint 800,000 men and women who are of all races, faiths, sexual orientations and are also mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, preachers, coaches, community members and just human with such a broad and destructive brush.
Unlike some who have dug their heals in the belief that police are inherently evil, I think if you yourself actually sat down and had a real honest and open conversation with a cop, there is a strong chance you may discover we are not the monsters you have come to believe we are, who deserve the hate and distain you have.
And even if you come away feeling the same way, I could respect it, because at least you gave the other side your ear instead of only hearing one narrative.
The offer is on the table Lebron. No cameras. No fanfare. Just two men who care talking. I know it’s a long shot. But this division and hatred must stop. It’s clear based on rising crime in marginalized communities that cops and the community need to build bridges to save lives on all sides. That cannot be done through the demonization of any group of people.
Just putting it out in the universe, brother. Even if not me, please take the time to talk to a police officer instead of judging them. No shade. Thanks for all the positive things you do.”
That letter is incredibly powerful, and it highlights the lack of knowledge that LeBron and a vast majority of the population show when they simply judge a situation on its surface.
It’s easy to Monday Morning Quarterback a situation, but to live it in real time is a totally different matter.
Our law enforcement officers aren’t perfect. They’re human, just like we are, and we shouldn’t expect them to be any more perfect than we are.
Hopefully, LeBron reaches out to both Officer Joseph and Officer Reardon (the cop who was forced to shoot Ma’Khia Bryant) to have a conversation with them.
It would be good for him to learn the pressures and stresses that happen when on the job as an American law enforcement officer.
Maybe it can lead to an understanding on both sides of that line…
“A good cop stays present for his community to give them a sense of tangible security when they can. They search for wanted and dangerous individuals for victims who can no longer speak out about what happened to them. And they do all of these things and more for the most part as imperfect but decent human beings.” – Officer Deon Joseph