LeBron James Responded To Baseless Claims By The L.A. Sheriff By Saying He’s Never ‘Condoned Violence’

LeBron James did not responded to remarks from Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva last week connecting James’ rhetoric about police brutality to the recent shootings of two sheriffs in Compton, but James did take the chance after Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday night to reiterate why he sees police violence as a systemic, racist problem in America.

“I’ve never, in my 35 years, ever condoned violence. Never have,” James told reporters. “But I also know what’s right is right, and what’s wrong is wrong, and I grew up in [an] inner city, in a Black community, in what we call the hood or the ghetto, however you want to picture it. And I’ve seen a lot of counts, first-hand, of a lot of Black people being racially profiled because of our color. And I’ve seen it throughout my whole life. And I’m not saying that all cops are bad, because I actually, throughout high school and things of that nature, I’m around them all the time and they’re not all bad. But when you see the videos going on — you can see all over, not only in my hometown but all over America, you continue to see the acts of violence toward my kind — I can’t do nothing but to speak about it. And see the common denominator, but not one time have I ever said let’s act violent toward cops.”

Earlier this week, James had offered his condolences to the two injured sheriffs, who both survived the shooting. James also maintained that he hopes no one gets hurt as the city of Los Angeles and the broader United States try to fix the systemic problems that afflicted James as he grew up and continue to disproportionately affect Black people and people of color in the country.

Like the women of the WNBA in their war of words against U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, James is not looking to get pulled down to the level of the individual whose No. 1 priority appears to be to prod him into a response that makes him look bad. Instead, the platform being provided by nature of being a professional athlete is being used to explain the problem at hand by bringing perspective to the issue.