After the Cleveland Cavaliers’ win on Wednesday night, LeBron James was asked about the incident at Fenway Park in which racial slurs were directed towards Orioles outfielder Adam Jones. The situation has created a discussion among athletes, all of whom have said there’s no place for racism not only in sports but in everyday life.
James gave a lengthy response to the question, one that was clearly very well thought out and passionate.
“It’s a delicate situation. Racism, we know, exists. You try not to put yourself in a position — for me as a father — I try to give my kids the blueprint on how life is gonna be. But at the end of the day, I can only tell them so much, and then they have to go out and live it themselves. For me, I just try to be respectful, for one, be respectful to others, and I feel like if you do that consistently, then I believe the karma will come back to you.
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“With the Adam Jones situation, I don’t know who said it or what happened, or the whole community in Boston, whatever the case may be, and I’ve heard a couple athletes say that you expect that when you go to Boston.”
James, who’s played in Boston dozens of times, says he’s never personally experienced racism when playing against the Celtics. Part of that may be due to the fact that he plays with “tunnel vision,” but he did acknowledge how bad it is for sports and society as a whole.
“For me, I’ve been to Boston, I’ve played in Boston a lot, I just try to have tunnel vision when I play. I can’t recall me ever hearing something that was racism towards me, but I think it was great that the other guys spoke up for him, not even on his own team, I think the guys from the Red Sox spoke up for Adam Jones saying like, ‘Hey fans, this is a situation where you guys need to have a standing ovation. Please do that because it’s not great for sports, it’s not great for society.’
“You got guys like Martin Luther King, who all he talked about was trying to unite all of us — no matter the color, no matter the race, no matter the shape or size. Racism is gonna be a part of time forever, I believe, but I think for us, the people that have the opportunities to have a voice and people that have an opportunity to have some play on the youth that’s coming up, we have to lead them the best way we can, and we have to live with the results. So hopefully I was able to answer your question. It’s a real, real longer conversation, but if we can keep the conversation going, I think it helps.”