Written T. Logan Dayne
The Rittenhouse trial was a tale of national interest. It garnered enough attention to even catch the eye of LeBron James. In recent years, James has had no issue calling out the United States and being an avid voice in what is called “social justice”. Although his criticism is hard to take seriously when he takes to twitter to write such hyperbolic things as “We’re literally hunted EVERYDAY/EVERYTIME we step foot outside the comfort of our homes!”, referring to the case of Ahmed Aubury.
This past week he got on twitter to criticize Kyle Rittenhouse as he took to the stand and broke down in what many saw as a panic attack. Making light of the traumatic events, James stated “What tears????? I didn’t see one. Man knock it off! That boy ate some lemon heads before walking into court”, followed by a series of laughing emojis. LeBron James, and the NBA as a whole, were quick to denounce Rittenhouse’s use of self-defense despite ample video evidence. What seems to be of grave concern, however, is the quick response James and the NBA have when addressing domestic concerns, although offering little in terms of solutions, while completely ignoring much more important issues that they can actually help with.
Peng Shuai, a Chinese Olympic tennis athlete, disappeared recently after making sexual assault allegations against a former senior Chinese Communist Party leader. Her accusations, which have now been purged from the internet, remain an issue of concern. Despite having a big mouth and quick to speak, James and the NBA have remained silent on this issue, giving no criticism or push back on the overt censorship the Chinese party has made. Even the #MeToo organization, which was meant to give voice to women who have been assaulted and silenced, have themselves been quiet.
This has been an ongoing pattern as many have remained silent even as Hong Kong, a bastion of Western principles rooted in the East, fell to the Chinese government during the pandemic. None of this is particularly surprising though. The NBA and James make a considerable amount from their Chinese audience and their contracts with Chinese sourced companies such as Nike. Criticizing American issues does not hurt their wallets. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said about China. Despite talking big about the need for justice, such organizations have failed to put their money where their mouth is. To them ideas such as justice, or even “social justice”, are not universal principles worth fighting for, rather, it is a product much like themselves to be bought and sold.
Photo Cred: Zhong Zhi / Getty Images