Basketball star LeBron James set off a firestorm when he tweeted a photo of the police officer who fatally shot a Columbus, Ohio, teen and wrote, “You’re next. #ACCOUNTABILITY’”.
James, who is from Ohio, later deleted the tweet, saying he did so because it was “being used to create more hate.” But folks were already lashing out, and one of the loudest critics was sports columnist Jason Whitlock.
James was referencing the fatal April 20 shooting in Columbus, Ohio, that happened minutes before the guilty verdict was read for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd.
Police bodycam footage appears to show a Black 16-year-old teenager named Ma’Khia Bryant lunging at another female with a knife. The police officer who shot the teen has since been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.
“This isn’t about one officer. It’s about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism. I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY’” James tweeted.
Whitlock, who is Black, tweeted back at James, referring to the April 18 shooting death of Jaslyn Adams at a McDonald’s drive-thru in Chicago, and other shootings, Fox News reported. “Black teenage girl tried to stab a Black teenage girl. 7-year-old Black girl gunned down at McDonald’s drive thru. Silence. No tweets. You’re not tired of young Black people killing each other. Silence. No desperation. How come?”
Whitlock, who left Fox Sports in 2020 over failed contract talks, also tweeted, “LeBron James, like other elites, is using racial division as a distraction as elites reshape America to be more like communist China. Elites prefer communism. Millionaire elites are protected by communism. They’re the ‘Talented Tenth’ W.E.B. Du Bois promoted. You’re being played.”
Twitter blasted Whitlock.
“Whitlock never misses an opporcoonity to swoop in and dance for butter biscuits for airtime. He consistently espouses anti-black takes in order to stay relevant. I’ve legitimately never seen anyone try as hard as Whitlock to be a token lapdog. He’s King Stepin Fetchit,” Neale @AbeFroman wrote.
Another tweeter called out Whitlock for slamming civil rights protests and activist W.E.B Du Bois — a self-described socialist and pan-Africanist — for Whitlock’s “Unhinged comparisons of social protest in America to ‘communist China.'”
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Whitlock’s Twitter account seems to be up and running after the journalist was locked out earlier this month after criticizing a $1.4 million home purchase by Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors.