NBA star LeBron James did not apologize on Wednesday as he responded to controversy that he created when he posted a photograph of the police officer who saved a girl from being stabbed and captioning it, “YOU’RE NEXT. #ACCOUNTABILITY.”
The controversy erupted after a girl, who was black, was shot and killed by police on Tuesday afternoon in Columbus, Ohio. Video of the incident, according to Columbus police, shows that a police officer shot the girl as she attempted to stab another girl, who was also black.
James responded to the shooting nearly 24 hours after it happened and after body camera footage had already been released by tweeting a photograph of the police officer who shot the girl and writing, “YOU’RE NEXT. #ACCOUNTABILITY.” James included an emoji of an hour glass, which is used to signify that time is running out.
Backlash to James’ tweet was so severe that he deleted it less than two hours after posting it. James later posted two tweets in response to the situation and did not apologize for what many said was putting a target on the back of the police officer.
“ANGER does [sic] any of us any good and that includes myself!” James said. “Gathering all the facts and educating does though! My anger still is here for what happened that lil girl. My sympathy for her family and may justice prevail!”
“I’m so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police,” James continued. “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 is inciting violence against an Ohio police officer,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) responded to James’ initial tweet. “This is disgraceful and dangerous. Is the NBA okay with this? Is Twitter?”
Others, including sports commentators like Clay Travis and Jason Whitlock, also slammed James for the tweet.
“Did you even watch the video, bud?” James said. “He shot a woman armed with a knife trying to kill an unarmed person! Here’s his perspective. This is even more shameful than you shutting up and dribbling for your boy Chairman Xi in China.”
Whitlock wrote: “LeBron James, like other elites, is using racial division as a distraction as elites reshape America to be more like communist China. Elites prefer communism. Millionaire elites are protected by communism. They’re the ‘Talented Tenth’ W.E.B. Du Bois promoted. You’re being played.”
“Du Bois = communist elite. Communism = hostile to all religion. Communism makes it nearly impossible to rise above your birth class. Maybe you’ll hit genetics lottery and become a pro athlete… Democracy-capitalism-freedom-America more class elevation than any other country,” Whitlock continued. “What we’re experiencing isn’t a racial conflict. Race is being used to divide and fool the 90% of us who have foolishly come to take American freedom for granted. The elites are imposing rigged communist system. I come from nothing. Only in America. #DonKingWasRight[.]”