FanDuel - WFBC

September 30, 2010

Lebron Plays Race Card Over Decision Criticism: When asked by CNN correspondent Soledad O'Brien if race played a factor in how LeBron James' decision to join the Miami Heat was covered by the media, James and his manager Maverick Carter said yes. "I think so at times," James said. "It's always, you know, a race factor."

posted by rcade to basketball at 08:47 PM - 25 comments

LeBron's manager apparently loves playing cards...

posted by MeatSaber at 08:24 PM on September 30

And LeBron responds:
"I think people are looking too far into it," James said. "But at the same time, sometimes it does play a part in it. I've said what I had to say, and I'll continue to move on."

Yeah, good response.

posted by NoMich at 08:35 PM on September 30

By calling it Lebron playing the race card, you are automatically dismissing the possibility.

posted by bperk at 08:50 PM on September 30

I'm confused. Is it LeBron saying this or his manager?

posted by NoMich at 10:16 PM on September 30

They both said race was a factor. Another brilliant PR move by King James, because if there's one thing that will win over the fans disgusted by the Decision, it's the suggestion that the criticism had a racial component.

posted by rcade at 10:45 PM on September 30

Why is that, rcade? Because the fans can't possibly face the fact that might be true? What if it is true?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:51 PM on September 30

This guy just never stops. I guess he just can't take the lack of attention in the off-season. He has to generate more.

posted by lampshade at 11:06 PM on September 30

Because the fans can't possibly face the fact that might be true? What if it is true?

Brett Favre and Roger Clemens. Both white athletes that basically shit on respective fan bases LeBron-style (minus the hour-long ego stroke on ESPN). Tell me that Packers and Red Sox fans forgive them. Tell me there's not a large portion of fans outside Green Bay and Boston who think they are major tools. Douchiness knows no color. LeBron is seemingly just so out of touch with reality that anyone that calls him a douche for his blatant disregard for anything outside his immediate area MUST be a racist, if only because he's black.

Fact is, he's a self-serving asshole. The fact that he's black doesn't even come into play...

posted by MeatSaber at 11:09 PM on September 30

He's African American. That fact comes into play here no matter who you are or what you do for a living. I think he did a decent job of responding to the question: James is saying of course race is a factor, because he is black and lives in America, but he has decided not to let it affect him and is moving on. That's an answer that may seem unfamiliar or even disingenuous to people who have never had to make such a decision.

posted by Hugh Janus at 12:05 AM on October 01

I think putting his actions in the same category as Clemens and Favre who have been acting like asses for years and years because Lebron made one stupid move to announce his joining Miami on his very own tv special indicates, to me, at least that Lebron is facing harsher judgment than he should. He's hardly the first athlete to show far too much ego, and he has been crucified for it. His move didn't impact anyone but Cleveland's 20 or so fans. I'm not defending it, but it has been blown out of proportion. He's suddenly one of the most hated athletes (all are black, btw).

posted by bperk at 12:09 AM on October 01

I think this question by Soledad, and the ensuing media maelstrom around his comments, are pretty unfair, and I say this already hating LeBron. Its almost like he is not allowed to have an opinion without it being severely over-amplified. Its about more than him just being a celebrity, people are coming down really hard on him. But that is the day and age we live in. People have a real hard-on about watching Linsday Lohan fail as well, and for what reason I have no clue.

So this story serves to damage the already-waning perception of LeBron as a leader, a fact that infuriates both his wishful fans in Miami, as well as his supporters back in Cleveland that got duped. LeBron is clearly not totally self-aware, and he should be dodging controversies such as this one. They tarnish his "greater than"-ness, which is a pretty valuable commodity. This guy's PR image control is like an asteroid fireballing through the ozone layer. What's also interesting is that there really seems to be a "more will be revealed" factor at play here.

The "race card" comment being explained away by the fact that race plays a role in everything only makes LeBron sound like a precious little snowflake. Precious little snowflakes don't win championships. Unless he plans on taking clear stands on social issues and then offering to do something about it, or sacrifice something for it, hes going to sound like an athlete making excuses. And people don't tune in to hear excuses.

posted by phaedon at 02:43 AM on October 01

Since it was LeBron that manufactured most of the media circus around his decision to leave Cleveland including his ego self stroking hour long ESPN special, then who exactly is he calling racist?

There are at least a million different ways he and the Cavs could have parted ways that would have had fans sad, but most not angry with him. And now what possible reason could he and his agent have for getting the Cleveland fans all pissed off at him again? Someone in his entourage get dissed?

posted by irunfromclones at 03:13 AM on October 01

Since it was LeBron that manufactured most of the media circus around his decision to leave Cleveland including his ego self stroking hour long ESPN special, then who exactly is he calling racist?

This comment and the kind of editorializing in the post (race card) prevents us from talking seriously about race in this country. No one was called racist in this story. There is a world of difference between saying that race was involved in something and calling someone racist. Every time someone so much as mentions race, they are not pulling some card trick.

posted by bperk at 05:32 AM on October 01

Of course race was a factor. Also, LeBron being a self-aggrandizing douchebag was a factor.

It's a floor wax! It's a dessert topping! STOP! It's BOTH!

posted by BitterOldPunk at 06:11 AM on October 01

Why is that, rcade? Because the fans can't possibly face the fact that might be true? What if it is true?

LeBron was black when fans and the media made him one of the biggest prep stars in the country. He was black when they made him one of the biggest stars in the NBA before he played his first game. He was black when he was Cleveland's favorite son and one of the most liked players in the league and the darling of ESPN and TNT.

So race is a factor now, when he's getting slammed for a massive ego trip, but it never slowed him down before?

There is a world of difference between saying that race was involved in something and calling someone racist.

I fail to see the distinction.

It seems to me that the best answer James could have given was either "that's not for me to say" or "I don't know." He has nothing to gain from this fight. He isn't Jim Brown. There's no way in hell he has the stones to stand up and challenge racism in an effective way. He's never been political. This just comes across as a pity party.

posted by rcade at 08:42 AM on October 01

There is a world of difference between saying that race was involved in something and calling someone racist.

I fail to see the distinction.

The distinction is that we all have biases. They are unconscious. So, if we are judging someone harshly, we don't realize that we have factored race into it, even when we have. Did I just call all of us racists by pointing out that we have unconscious biases? Not at all.

Lebron's "I think so" is hardly worthy of a battle. I would love to see some Jim Brown-type fight in him, but this is milquetoast to me.

posted by bperk at 09:11 AM on October 01

So race is a factor now, when he's getting slammed for a massive ego trip, but it never slowed him down before?

Not if he was a good Negro. Look, I'm not saying that's the case. I'm saying that I fail to see rigorous thinking in the braying of "race card!!!" that goes on every time a black athlete suggests that race might be a factor in how he was treated. That strikes me, frankly, as the kneejerk reaction of people who are afraid to deal with a difficult subject honestly, and not the well-thought-out response of those who have truly considered the question.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:56 AM on October 01

Another brilliant PR move by King James, because if there's one thing that will win over the fans disgusted by the Decision, it's the suggestion that the criticism had a racial component.

I'm really hoping that Lebron comes out of this making less PR moves. The most annoying thing about him, for me, was how he always seemed to be selling shoes. Hopefully he gives up trying to please everyone and just says what he thinks from here on out.

I can see Lebron looking at what he did, even if he recognizes that 'The Decision' was a colossal disaster, and thinking that everyone is wildly overreacting and then searching for a reason for that. I don't know if he's right. Race is involved in everything, sure. Though, Lebron seems to have that same special 'hate me!' gene that A-rod seems to have.

posted by tron7 at 03:38 PM on October 01

I don't think LeBron had that hate-me thing going on until the Decision. He seemed to do pretty well on the beloved/despised scale.

That strikes me, frankly, as the kneejerk reaction of people who are afraid to deal with a difficult subject honestly, and not the well-thought-out response of those who have truly considered the question.

Did anyone here, in all the discussion of the Decision debacle, raise the possibility of racial animus causing people to be too hard on LeBron? I don't recall it then, and it seems just as off-base now that LeBron thinks it might be the case.

I'm all for discussing racism head-on. But frankly, it seems unbelievably absurd to discuss how racial bias may have harmed a pro athlete who has a net worth approaching $100 million before his 26th birthday. It cheapens the debate. Let's talk about it when there's a real victim, not an astonishingly blessed multimillionaire feeling put upon.

posted by rcade at 03:51 PM on October 01

I think what LeBron was talking to was the Q score and how a disproportionate number of whites jumped on the negative side (from 24% to 44%) where blacks, not so much (14% to 15%). He probably thinks to himself that nearly half of white america hates him. Maybe to someone living in a bubble it's a black and white issue.

posted by smithnyiu at 04:48 PM on October 01

People who didn't like Lebron because he is black didn't change their minds because he changed teams. The question wasn't "is there still racism in America?" it was whether or not the backlash against the extraordinary douchebaggery that was the decision was motivated by his race. I would have to disagree. That kind of douchebaggery transcends race, creed, religion or sexual orientation.

Lebron should have been the bigger man and blown off such a loaded question.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:38 PM on October 01

Simmons has a good point: LeBron never jettisoned the sycophants and opportunists who walked him into July's public relations disaster. And because he still doesn't seem to comprehend why so many found "The Decision" so revolting, as evidenced by LeBron playing the race card this week. You know, because we've been so kind to Brett Favre these past two years.

posted by brainofdtrain at 06:05 PM on October 01

LeBron needs to stop playing the victim card, not the race card. The guy made a decision that's going to make him far richer than he should ever dream of being, so shut the hell up and play your stupid game in your annoying league.

posted by dyams at 09:37 AM on October 02

Barkley goes on a tear about this, then veers off to blasting ESPN for the LeBronathon. "This is unprecedented ass kissing," he said.

posted by rcade at 11:34 AM on October 02

Gotta love Sir Charles!

posted by mjkredliner at 01:19 PM on October 04

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