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LeBron James: NFL Owners Have 'Slave Mentality'

On his TV show "The Shop," James slammed the NFL and commended NBA commissioner Adam Silver for allowing players to express themselves.

Screenshot from HBO's "The Shop"

LeBron James, star of the Los Angeles Lakers, slammed NFL owners on the latest episode of HBO's "The Shop," which aired on Friday night.


"In the NFL they got a bunch of old white men owning teams and they got that slave mentality," James said. "And it's like, 'This is my team. You do what the f--- I tell y'all to do. Or we get rid of y'all.'"

James said he is appreciative of NBA commissioner Adam Silver for allowing basketball players to politically express themselves on the court.

"It doesn't even matter if Adam agrees with what we are saying, he at least wants to hear us out," James said. "And as long as we are doing it in a very educational, non-violent way. Then he's absolutely okay with it."

For example, in 2014, when on the Cleveland Cavaliers, James and Kyrie Irving wore T-shirts with "I Can't Breathe" on them while warming up before a game. In 2017, during a game in the nation's capital, James wore Nike "Equality" sneakers — one black and one white with the word "Equality" on the back of each shoe.

His comments on Silver served as a contrast to the NFL's attempt to shut down players who take a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racism.

In 2016, Kaepernick became the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem, since then he has been shunned by the organization.

He is currently pursuing a grievance against the NFL. Kaepernick claims that ever since he opted out of his contract with the 49ers in early 2017, team owners and executives have colluded to keep him out of the league.

James also implied that the NFL only uses players for what they could get out of them rather than investing in potential.

"The difference between the NBA and the NFL: the NBA (cares about) what we believe can be, the potential," James said. "In the NFL, it's what can you do for me this Sunday or this Monday or this Thursday. And if you ain't it, we moving on."

During the same episode, which included guests celebrities such as Mary J. Blige, Lena Waithe, Nas, Ice Cube and Rams running back Todd Gurley, James touched on how Black culture is often replicated in mainstream society.

"It happens every single day," James began. "People steal our style. They steal our culture. They steal our words. They steal how we dress, how we feel. What we drink. What we eat. Everything."

He said that when Black people don't get the credit for creations and innovations, don't get discouraged, but "do it even harder."

"Everything we do we move the needle," James said. "And we've got to continue to do that."

Nas said that society loves Black culture, "But when they see Black people go through the worse injustice ever they're quiet."

"Stand with us so we can stand together. All nationalities. But, [if] you see us going through it, say something.

He said, "We're giving the world our sauce, and if you want to take that sauce, or whatever it is you want to call that thing we give out to the world, then be there with us, speak up against injustice. We want to speak up against injustice toward you guys."

Reader Question: Do you agree with LeBron James' comments on the NFL compared to the NBA?

The Conversation (4)
Mike Jones24 Dec, 2018

Slavery was defeated by Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment. Segregation was defeated by Brown versus Board of Education Supreme Court Decision. What most folks don't realize is that places like the Greenwood District in Tulsa Oklahoma ('Black Wall Street') proved that we really don't need white folks in order to be self-sufficient and successful. We need to do like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr advocated and take care of our own. Can you imagine what America would be like if the government decided to really implement 'Separate bu Equal' as it should have been done? Give Black folks the same resources that others have and we always outdue everybody else. Just ask the producers of Black Panther. Maybe our young men and women should follow Mo'ne Davis' lead and choose Hampton University over Alabama, choose Howard University over Michigan and choose Spelman College over Notre Dame. The fact that an Asian racist at Lehigh University and a White racist at University of Hartford tried to poison their Black roommates should be enough to motivate any Black college prospects to look for a place that feels more like home than a war zone especially when you are only trying to get an education. Our parents died for us to have freedom of choice. We have freedom now so lets choose us! If we choose to do for us, support us, help us, and live for us then we don't have to worry about the slave masters running the new plantations in places like the NFL. We should have listened to Walter Byers in 1995 when he wrote in his book 'Unsportsmanlike Conduct', "Today, the NCAA Presidents Commission is...firmly committed to the neoplantation belief that the enormous proceeds from college games belong to the overseers (the administrators) and supervisors (coaches). The plantation workers (Black athletes) performing in the arena may receive only those benefits authorized by the overseer". This written by Walter Byers, the Father and progenitor of the NCAA Championship tournaments that make white colleges and universities millions of dollars every year.

Lamar22 Dec, 2018

So true! Always stand up for what is right, no matter if it cost you your life, job, or what so ever. Fear no one, God sees, hears and knows everything, he will work things out in his time. Love is the best thing to fight hate with. Fear God not man! LIVE FOR JESUS!!!

Larry Kanter22 Dec, 2018

He is 100% correct

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