LeBron James has expressed regret for his inflammatory tweet about the Ohio cop who fatally shot 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant – saying he “fueled the wrong conversation” about the teen.
The Los Angeles Lakers superstar said on Twitter this week that he owes “it to her and this movement to change” the conversation.
James also thanked Vox writer Fabiola Cineas “for educating us about Ma’Khia and her story and why this needs to be about her.”
He added a link to Cineas’ piece — titled “Why they’re not saying Ma’Khia Bryant’s name” — in which she wrote that “viewers of various races and political affiliations” decided that Bryant was the knife-wielding “aggressor.”
“The cries for justice that applied to George Floyd did not ring out as loudly for Bryant,” she wrote.
“Even after it was discovered that Bryant was living in foster care, that she was in the middle of a fight with older women when police arrived, and that she was allegedly the one who summoned the police for help, people — some of the same people who called for justice in Floyd’s case — used police talking points to justify the four bullets that Reardon unloaded into Bryant’s chest,” Cineas continued.
She also cited Treva Lindsey, a professor of African American women’s history at Ohio State University, who said there are people who won’t see the teen as a victim but as someone who “brought this on herself.”
“And even for those who do see her as a victim, they’ll still victim-blame, erasing the systemic oppression — including that Black children are far more likely to be in foster care than their white counterparts, and kids in foster care are often exposed to high levels of violence — that brought her to being killed at the hands of the police,” she wrote.
“People will say, ‘I’m really sad this whole scenario happened, but had she not had that knife ….’ That becomes the ‘but,’ the qualifier, the caveat,” Lindsey told Vox.
“And too often we have a caveat when it comes to defending, protecting, and caring for Black girls,” she added.
James sparked controversy April 21 when he tweeted a picture of Columbus Police Officer Nicholas Reardon along with the ominous-sounding caption, “YOU’RE NEXT.”
He later deleted the tweet amid a backlash, saying he took it down because it was “being used to create more hate.”