LeBron James Admits His Controversial Tweet About Ma’Khia Bryant Shooting Was ‘Wrong’
LeBron James has said he ‘fueled the wrong conversation’ about Ma’Khia Bryant after causing controversy over a tweet posted in the wake of her death.
16-year old Ma’Khia was shot dead by a police officer in Columbus, Ohio last month, leading to renewed outrage over police killings of Black people.
Like many others, in response to news of the shooting James took to Twitter to express his anger, posting a photo of the officer who killed Ma’Khia with the caption ‘YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY.’
The tweet appeared to be in reference to the guilty verdict against Derek Chauvin, which was handed down in the same hour as Ma’Khia’s death, with James calling for Columbus Police Officer Nicholas Reardon to face the same justice.
However others took his message in a different way, leading to accusations that the Lakers star was inciting violence against the police. Amid the firestorm, the LAPD union called on the NBA to investigate James, accusing him of being a ‘crusader’ and a ‘hypocrite,’ per The Independent.
James deleted his tweet shortly after, and on Monday expressed regret over the message, writing ‘I fuelled the wrong conversation about Ma’Khia Bryant and I owe it to her and this movement to change it.’
In the post, James shared a link to a Vox article about Ma’Khia, adding ‘Thank you to @fabiolacineas for educating us about Ma’Khia and her story and why this needs to be about her.’
In the article, race reporter Fabiola Cineas addresses arguments that Reardon was right to shoot Ma’Khia as she was threatening to stab another girl.
‘That she was a teenager in the middle of an altercation, in which she was presumed to be defending herself, did not matter,’ Cineas writes, adding that crisis response experts suggested that the officer should have done more to de-escalate the situation before resorting to fatal violence.
The article continues:
The insistence that Reardon had no other option than to take Bryant’s life to save others — though he risked everyone’s life in the process — displays the lack of consideration and value that society places on the lives of Black girls and women.
James has been one of sport’s most outspoken supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement, and in a follow up tweet on Monday emphasised the need for society to ‘Protect our Young Black Women & Men.’
Officer Nicholas Reardon has been removed from street duty pending an investigation.
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