Lebron James, or “King James” as he’s known in the world of basketball, is the star forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers. James not only grew up in the Cleveland area, he was also selected as the number one overall pick right out of high school in the 2003 NBA draft. He has a storied career that includes championships and Olympic gold medals.
You could say that Lebron James is the face of Cleveland and, as a result, black activists are making a demand of James following the grand jury decision to not indict Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback in the death of 12-year old Tamir Rice.
Tariq Toure, a columnist for Islamic Monthly and writer for Muslim Matters, has called on Lebron James to stage a sit-in and refuse to play basketball in response to the grand jury’s decision to not indict the officers in Rice’s death. He wants James to stop playing until the Department of Justice “imprisons the murderers of Tamir Rice.”
The hashtag #NoJusticeNoLebron trended briefly on Twitter on Tuesday with the call for Lebron James to ignore his contractual obligations and fail to do his job in the name of social justice got some support from other Black Lives Matter ‘activists.’
— Asha Abdi (@Asha_Abdi) December 29, 2015
Toure conducted a Twitter poll to see how much support his call for Lebron to refuse to play until the Department of Justice arrests the officers.
Lebron James has weighed in on the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Eric Gardner, and some believe he should take things that much further in regards to Tamir Rice since this incident happened in Cleveland. He spoke with ESPN about the calls for him to sit out in protest of the grand jury’s decision.
“For me, I’ve always been a guy who’s took pride in knowledge of every situation that I’ve ever spoke on,” James said following the Cavs‘ win over the Denver Nuggets. “And to be honest, I haven’t really been on top of this issue. So it’s hard for me to comment. I understand that any lives that [are] lost, what we want more than anything is prayer and the best for the family, for anyone. But for me to comment on the situation, I don’t have enough knowledge about it.”
In regards to the #NoJusticeNoLebron hashtag calling for him to refuse to play, James said he is not on social media much and was not aware.
James said that, just like the particulars of the investigation into the police officers’ actions against Rice, he was not fully informed about the calls for him to personally protest the lack of an indictment.
“I caught a little bit of it from my folks on the side saying that you guys might ask me about it, but I have no knowledge,” James said. “I’m not much of a social media guy. I’m on it, for sure, but I’m not always looking at what’s going on in it.”
Toure doesn’t want to just stop at Lebron. He has also called on every single NFL player to ignore their contracts and refuse to play until they get ‘justice’ for Tamir Rice.
— TariqTouré (@TariqToure) December 30, 2015
On December 23, he tweeted an image that read, “There will be no playoffs without justice.” He told Newsweek that he hopes top black NFL players like Cam Newton, Richard Sherman, and Marshawn Lynch would join in their movement.