LeBron James and Kevin Durant have both spoken out about Fox News host Laura Ingraham after she criticized them both for what they said about Donald Trump, saying the two should just “shut up and dribble.”
After James said that Trump “really don’t give a f— about people,” Ingraham said that he should go back to playing basketball instead of discussing politics.
In an interview at the NBA All-star break in Los Angeles, James responded to Ingraham’s comments.
James starts off by saying he didn’t know who she was before her comments but now knows her. He goes on to say that he “will not just shut up and dribble. I mean too much to society, I mean too much to the youth, I mean too much to so many kids who feel like they don’t have a way out.”
The beef between Fox News and LeBron reignites the conversation that started with Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem in an attempt to highlight the mistreatment of African Americans at the hand of the police. Kaepernick’s protest sparked outrage from many, including Donald Trump who called him a “son of a b—-.” Many of their critiques say that athletes shouldn’t discuss politics at all and just play their game.
To many athletes, including LeBron James and Colin Kaepernick, they feel that it is important for them to use their position as a platform to advocate for change and for strong topics that affect people all over the country. A lot of children do look up to the nation’s top athletes and it’s important for them to show they are looking out for them.
Kevin Durant also responded to Laura Ingraham’s criticism. In an interview with USA Today, Durant said, “To me, it was racist. I’m still going to be a citizen here in the U.S. when I’m done playing basketball, and my voice still doesn’t matter at that point? I don’t play basketball 24 hours a day. I live in this world, just like everybody else. I don’t get what she’s saying, but I know what she’s trying to say. My whole thing is I can’t dwell on that, and I can’t let that distract me from the real goal at hand, which is to continue to encourage and empower people around the world.”
Laura Ingraham released a statement with Fox News responding to Durant calling her “racist.”
“In 2003, I wrote a New York Times best-seller called ‘Shut Up & Sing,’ in which I criticized celebrities like the Dixie Chicks & Barbra Streisand who were trashing then-President George W. Bush. I have used a variation of that title for more than 15 years to respond to performers who sound off on politics. I’ve told Robert DeNiro to ‘Shut Up & Act,’ Jimmy Kimmel to ‘Shut Up & Make Us Laugh,’ and just this week told the San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich to ‘Shut up & Coach.’ If pro athletes and entertainers want to freelance as political pundits, then they should not be surprised when they’re called out for insulting politicians. There was no racial intent in my remarks – false, defamatory charges of racism are a transparent attempt to immunize entertainment and sports elites from scrutiny and criticism. Additionally, we stated on my show that these comments came from an ESPN podcast, which was not the case – the content was unaffiliated with ESPN.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver poured out his support for James and Durant in a statement, saying he is proud of them using their platform to speak on issues that are important to them.
What do you think of LeBron’s comments? Should athletes use their platform to speak about important issues that are important to them or should they just “shut up and dribble”?