LOS ANGELES – A day after a crowd of pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, Los Angeles Lakers captain LeBron James wondered what would have happened if the insurgent group was mostly black and blamed President Donald Trump for the chaos.
“We live in two Americas,” James said Thursday after the Lakers’ 118-109 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. “And that was a great example of that yesterday, and if you don’t understand that or don’t see that after seeing what you saw yesterday, then you really have to take a step back – not even a step, but maybe be four or five, even ten steps back and ask yourself how do you want your children, or how do you want your grandchildren, or how do we want America to be seen as? Do we want to live in this? beautiful country? “
James, wearing a black shirt with the message “Do you understand now?” in block letters, said he watched media coverage of Wednesday’s riots showing a largely white crowd encountered by a relatively passive police force. He said it made him think about how he and his family – his wife, three children and stepmother, all black – would be treated in the same situation.
“If these had been my type to storm the Capitol, what would have been the result? And I think we all know that,” James said. “There are no ifs and buts – we already know what would have happened to me if someone had even approached the Capitol, let alone a storm inside the offices, in the corridors. “
James’ teammate Anthony Davis echoed the sentiment, contrasting the way Black Lives Matter protesters were greeted by police across the country over the summer.
“It’s like a double standard,” said Davis, who wore a shirt with the title from Public Enemy’s 1990 album “Fear of Black Planet” sewn onto his chest. “On the other side, an entire group collides with the nation’s Capitol and is escorted through the front door as if all is well.
“And if I’m not mistaken – well, I’m not mistaken – they took things, and when Black Lives Matter [movement] protested that it was, “Once the looting begins, the shooting begins.” And as far as I know, if you take something, you loot. And in this case, for them, they were escorted through the front door. And that’s just a slap in the face for us. It is as if we are backing away. We thought we were seeing changes and then it happens. “
In May, Trump tweeted, “When the looting begins, the shooting begins,” threatening military action in response to the social justice movement sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was in custody in Minneapolis when he died in ‘an officer on his knees. his neck.
James, who has had a public exchange with Trump for years, said the outgoing president was guilty of what happened on Wednesday.
“The events that took place yesterday were a direct correlation with the president who is currently in the seat – his actions, his beliefs, his wishes,” James said. “He doesn’t care about anyone besides himself. No one. Absolutely no one. He doesn’t care about this country. He doesn’t care about his family. He doesn’t care about anyone besides himself.”
In 2016, James, as he stood in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ locker room the night Trump was elected, openly questioned whether he’d better leave the country. He said Thursday evening that it was a damaging presidential term for the country.
“Four years ago I was sitting there and I said it was the beginning of the end for our country. And I hope it will only last four years,” James said. “But the one thing in life that you can’t get back, one thing you can never get back, and this is the moment. I can’t go back. Get this back?”
The Capitol violation on Wednesday, which resulted in five deaths and the resignation of the Capitol Police Chief, came hours before Joe Biden was officially certified as the 46th President of the United States when Congress confirmed the tally of the Electoral College of 306-232.
James said he believes Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris offered hope for the country.
“We took a step forward in November by electing Joe and Kamala to the White House, to be the head of our country,” said James. “It’s a step forward.”
Davis said the Lakers and Spurs’ pre-game protest – hugging each other in a circle in the middle of the court as the national anthem played – was meant to continue to inspire unity for a period of time. difficult.
“We just can’t give up hope. No matter what happens. As a league brotherhood and I as an African American, we can’t afford to give up hope just because we can’t see of change, ”Davis told me. “That’s what people want. They want us to lose hope, lose faith, and let ourselves go. Let the idea of change go away. And we’re not doing anything. … We have to keep on going. be united and stand together to make sure we stay strong through it all. “