LeBron is good at basketball. “Come on, Flood Watch, tell us something we don’t know.” Fair. LeBron is good at basketball, and sticking up for what he believes in.
Fox News host Laura Ingraham, however, thinks that professional athletes such as LeBron should “shut up and dribble.”
Unfortunately for Ingraham, she believes people without a political background or resumé are unfit to share their political opinions, beliefs or visions. Which is awfully ironic after her support for Donald Trump. This predicament leads me to believe that she, as well as those who support her call for professional athletes sharing liberal views to cut it out, only wishes to silence those she disagrees with. Attempting to silence those with opposing ideas in order to further a homogenous narrative is straight up cowardly.
Let’s say, hypothetically, LeBron did stick to dribbling basketballs. Sure, you wouldn’t have a guy in Cleveland talking smack about your president whose approval rating hasn’t broken 40 percent since June. But let’s not forget everything else that comes with LeBron just shutting up and dribbling.
There would be $41.8 million less going to James’s “I Promise” program, which provided full general tuition fees to over 1,100 students to attend the University of Akron. There would also be no “I Promise” school currently being developed in the city of Akron, which specifically targets to help at-risk youth and is being built through James’s LeBron James Family Foundation. Also, there’d be no LeBron James Family Foundation Mentorship program, designed to help University of Akron students with both their academic and home lives.
Personally, I have the totally radical idea that we should empower others to share their ideas instead of trying to silence them. I know, completely bonkers. I think it’s about time we included professional athletes in that group of people we’re empowering to share their ideas and values.
The late, great Arnold Palmer was known for his prowess in the game of golf. But he was even more known for his gracious attitudes towards his fans. Imagine if he just shut up and hit golf balls.
Professional athletes are people who are looked up to as role models. Do we want to spread the idea that our role models should stay quiet because some disagree with their values? Or do we want pro athletes to teach our kids to stand up for what they believe in, even in the face of adversity?
Ingraham, who was born into a white, middle class family in a city with a median income almost twice that of the American average, hasn’t had many opportunities to experience the effects of institutionalized disadvantages. I am by no means blaming her for the life she’s had, as she didn’t choose the family she was born into and has worked hard to get to where she is. But that doesn’t change the fact that her privileges have clearly lessened her ability to empathize with those coming from less fortunate situations.
LeBron James, a black man who grew up in a lower-class, single-parent household, spent his childhood with virtually no such privileges. Despite his situation, he’s became one of, if not the greatest basketball players of all time and now uses his position in society to help those around him. My wish is that Ingraham would realize that she doesn’t have the framework to genuinely understand what a black boy living in poverty goes through.
If I had a second wish? It’d be for people like Ingraham to stop making irrelevant criticisms of people belonging to marginalized groups behind closed doors and actually have a conversation with those groups in an attempt to understand why they fight for the things they’re fighting for.
LeBron’s comments included brief explicit language. I believe that that isn’t the best way to go about voicing concerns, but what gives Ingraham the right to act morally righteous over LeBron, when she supports a president who has mocked a disabled reporter, bragged about sexual assault, etc.?
Ingraham also degraded LeBron for his imperfect grammar and brief overuse of the word “like.” Get real. The dude is with a couple friends in a car – in other words, a casual, laid-back social situation. God forbid anybody slip up on their grammar at any point. Really, how petty of an argument do you need to make before you realize you’re being juvenile about a disagreement?
Ingraham is in no place to try and silence others, especially others who give as much to their community – and fulfill their role as an inspirational role model – as LeBron James. And neither is anyone else who tries to silence others. If your true desire is to make the world a better place, how about we stop prioritizing being right over doing the right thing? LeBron James sure is doing a lot to make the world a better place, and it has to do with a lot more than just dribbling.