O.J. Simpson took to social media Thursday to address the controversy surrounding NBA star LeBron James for his tweet targeting an Ohio police officer and slam the media for showing “edited versions” of the shooting that resulted in the death of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant.
Simpson posted a nearly two-minute-long video to his Twitter where he began by saying that while he is a “fan” of the Los Angeles Lakers star and “admires” the work he’s done to advocate against social injustices, he believes James spoke prematurely on Tuesday’s officer-involved shooting.
“You can’t fight every battle. You gotta pick your battles,” Simpson said. “It’s a war that must be fought but sometimes you need to take your time and be a little more patient before you comment on some of these bad incidents that are happening with police departments. This one, LeBron should’ve waited.”
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Simpson went on to say that he’s watched the full clip, which shows Bryant appearing to charge at another female with a knife before being shot.
“I’m a little upset with most of the media because they showed us edited versions of what took place with the girl with the knife,” he said. They made it sound as if it was another police officer overreacting and killing a young Black American. Well, from what I saw when I saw the full thing, the police had no choice. He responded … in that instant, if he hadn’t done what he did — it appeared to me another young American would’ve had her life taken.”
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He continued: “I can’t fault what he did. I wish it was different but I can’t fault it.”
James is facing major backlash after he tweeted on Wednesday an image of one of the officers at the scene of Bryant’s shooting with the caption: “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY.”
James deleted the tweet shortly after posting it and explained that he sent it out of “ANGER.”
He was slammed by critics on social media who accused him of using his platform to incite violence against the officer to his nearly 50 million followers while seemingly suggesting that the shooting was unjustified coming off the heels of the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on murder and manslaughter charges in the death of George Floyd.
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Simpson encouraged James to continue his fight for justice but warned him to wait for the facts before adding that he does not support the movement to defund law enforcement.
“LeBron, keep fighting the fight — I think we all got to be a little more patient,” he said. “I’m against defunding the police. I just think you’ve got to redirect some of those funds to better training and maybe dealing with more psychological training.”