In his career, LeBron James has never been silent on social and political issues, especially when it comes to the issue of unprovoked violence against American blacks. As the case of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was apparently jogging when he was shot and killed in Georgia, has gained increased notoriety, James took to Twitter to speak out again.
After a video of Arbery’s death was released on Wednesday, Arbery’s mother said she had difficulty watching it but that the tape, “proves that my son was not committing a crime. He was out for his daily jog and he was hunted down like an animal and killed.”
James picked up on the “hunted” aspect of her comment in a tweet:
“We’re literally hunted EVERYDAY/EVERYTIME we step foot outside the comfort of our homes! Can’t even go for a damn jog man! Like WTF man are you kidding me?!?!?!?!?!? No man fr ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!! I’m sorry Ahmaud(Rest In Paradise) and my prayers and blessings sent to the….. heavens above to your family!! #StayWoke #ProfiledCauseWeAreSimplyBlack”
No Arrests Made in Arbery Killing
Police have not yet made any arrests in the case, though a father and son– Gregory McMichael (age 64) and Travis McMichael (34)—have been identified as the two who pursued Arbery in a white pickup truck. The murder happened in February but only got national attention when the video became public, posted by a local radio host.
The District Attorney in southeastern Georgia said yesterday a grand jury will open an investigation into the case.
Gregory McMichael reportedly told police that Arbery looked like a suspect in a string of recent break-ins in the Brunswick, Ga., neighborhood and that the shooting happened in self-defense after an attempted citizen’s arrest.
Gregory McMichael is also a former investigator for the district attorney in the Brunswick Judicial Circuit, which has caused several prosecutors to recuse themselves from the case.
LeBron James’ History of Speaking Out
James has frequently spoken out about similar issues in the past. He and many NBA players brought attention to the killing of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida, and in 2012, he and teammate Dwyane Wade organized a photo featuring the entire Heat team wearing the kind of hoodie Martin was wearing when he was killed by a white Florida man, George Zimmerman.
He also spoke frequently about the killing of Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Missouri in 2014.
“I think that news itself, the issue is much bigger than that,” James said at the time, according to ESPN. “It’s not just one instance. It’s not just Mike Brown or Trayvon Martin or anything that’s going on in our society. I think it’s much bigger than that. Like I said last night, violence is not the answer and retaliation is not the solution. My prayers and best wishes goes out to the families of anyone that loses a loved one, especially a kid today.”
In 2018, Fox News host Laura Ingraham famously told James, on her show, to keep his political opinions to himself and, “shut up and dribble.”
At the All-Star Game that followed just days later, James got the last laugh.
“We will definitely not shut up and dribble,” he said. “I mean too much to society, too much to the youth, too much to so many kids who feel like they don’t have a way out. I had no idea who she is … until now. So she won in that case.”