Don’t ask any of the black players in the NBA to clean up the league’s mess with China.
Despite having talents that seem superhuman at times, it’s not the responsibility of black players to fix the NBA’s business relationship with one of their biggest partners, which was strained due to a now-deleted tweet from Houston Rockets General Manager, Daryl Morey.
It’s bad enough that James Harden had to offer an apology last week for Morey’s controversial tweet in support of protesters in Hong Kong. But since then, he’s realized that this isn’t his cause.
“I’m staying out of it,” said Harden. “I’m focusing on what we have and trying to get better. We’re a week and a half away from the regular season.”
I’ve heard some ask where LeBron James has been in all this, given that he’s used his platform to be a change agent. And although James was helpful in getting California Senate Bill 206 passed, so that student-athletes could make money off their likeness, this one isn’t his fight.
As a player, James is focused on leading the Los Angeles Lakers back to glory this upcoming season. As a black man, James is more than likely reeling, like most of Black America, from the death of Atatiana Jefferson.
Jefferson is the latest innocent black person to become a hashtag, given that the 28-year-old was killed by a Texas police officer while babysitting her nephew. These are the kinds of things African Americans deal with in 2019, so excuse players like James and Harden for not having any desire to throw on their capes to help save an American professional sports league from something that has nothing to do with them.
However, James broke his silence on Monday night.
“We all talk about this freedom of speech,” he said. “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. I don’t want to get into a… feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand and he spoke.”
It’s been interesting to watch how things have played out. Morey has slid into the background as the attention has unfairly shifted towards the players. It’s amazing when you think about it, given just how much damage was done by a single tweet, as Morey has somehow been absolved of fixing the problem he started.
Which is why it’s problematic to expect black players to be diplomatic in this moment.
Black people don’t owe the world their time, especially since no one is making the same demands of white athletes.