OPINION: LeBron is more than an athlete — in a bad way

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OPINION: LeBron is more than an athlete — in a bad way

Cavaliers at Wizards 2/6/17

Cavaliers at Wizards 2/6/17

Courtesy: Keith Allison, Flickr

Cavaliers at Wizards 2/6/17

Courtesy: Keith Allison, Flickr

Courtesy: Keith Allison, Flickr

Cavaliers at Wizards 2/6/17

In recent months, China has been in an uproar. Pro-democracy protesters are fighting not only for their rights in Hong Kong, but their lives. Earlier this month, a peaceful protester was shot and killed by a Chinese police force.

The people of Hong Kong simply want more rights. The protests, which started five months ago, started out as a protest with an extradition bill that would turn over residents to mainland China. But it’s turned into a broader movement over fears that civil liberties would be crushed.

 Now you’re wondering, “How does this relate to sports?” Well, I’ll tell you. Houston Rockets General Manager Darryl Morrey tweeted his support last week for the protesters fighting for their rights. He quickly deleted the tweet, but it had already made waves.

Over the course of the past two weeks, the Rockets have lost streaming rights in China, and the NBA flatlined in the country. Preseason games were still played and broadcasted, but all media was banned from talking to players, staff, and executives until they were brought back into the United States.

 On Oct. 9, players from the Los Angeles Lakers and Brookyln Nets watched out of their hotel windows as the government ripped down 30-foot team banners acros the street.

 So the league got out of China. Players, staff, and executives have stopped talking about the subject and have decided to move on — except for one.

 LeBron James.

 In the past, James has been an advocate for social issues in the U.S. — mainly police brutality and education. But on Monday, he took a turn.

 The NBA superstar faced the press, listened to the question, and responded. There was a slight pause, but not enough. He spoke.

 “Yes, we all do have freedom of speech, but at times, there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you’re not thinking about others and you’re only thinking about yourself,” James told the reporters in LA. “I don’t want to get into a word or sentence feud with Daryl, with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand and he spoke. And so many people could have been harmed — not only financially, but physically, emotionally, spiritually.”

 What was Morrey not educated on? And why is LeBron calling a man who is standing by those who are fighting for their rights and livelihood ignorant? Is he worried about losing a small portion of his $450 million net worth?

 I don’t have the answer, but I do know that James is the ignorant one in this situation. He leads off his list of harm with “financially,” so we really know what LeBron is about as a human: money. Ignorance, I know. This is coming from the man who fought back when a television reporter told him to “shut up and dribble.”

 Now, LeBron is in the anchor’s shoes, telling Morrey to “shut up and run his basketball team.”

 What I learned from this fiasco is that Lebron really only cares about his money. He’s saying that freedom of speech is available only when it doesn’t come as an inconvenience.

 Later, after backlash on the star ensued, James tweeted a response to his words, saying, “I think people need to understand what a tweet or statement can do to others. And I believe nobody stopped and considered what would happen. Could have waited a week to send it.”

 Excuse me? Of course Morrey could’ve waited. Then James and the NBA could fully get their marketing out there. The teams could’ve flown in, sold their brand as they know how to do, flown home, pockets bulging, and then supported Morrey because “Oh, we have our money at least.”

 My respect for what LeBron does here in the US has always been high. But now I know the real storyline — LeBron James only cares about his money.

So props to you LeBron. Way to stand up and support communist China. You really are more than an athlete — you’re an ignorant capitalist.