LeBron James spoke out against the NFL and its owners on the latest episode of HBO’s The Shop, which aired on Friday night. James, who was joined by a host of celebrities including Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley, decried the league for how it treats its players. Specifically, James accused NFL owners of possessing a “slave mentality.”
“In the NFL they got a bunch of old white men owning teams and they got that slave mentality,” James said, per Ben Golliver of the Washington Post. “And it’s like, ‘This is my team. You do what the f*ck I tell y’all to do. Or we get rid of y’all.’”
In the same breath, James praised NBA commissioner Adam Silver for his approach to overseeing the league, one in which James says players are comfortable expressing what they’re feeling even if the commissioner personally disagrees. Later, James and Gurley were both critical of how the NFL places an emphasis on player “availability.”
“The difference between the NBA and the NFL, the NBA is, like, ‘What we believe he can be, what we believe he can be,'” James said. “The potential. The NFL? It’s like, ‘What can you do for me this Sunday, or this Monday, or this Thursday, and if you ain’t it, we movin’ on.'”
“Your best ability is your availability,” Gurley continued. “If your ass ain’t week-by-week … it’s really week-by-week, it ain’t no year-by-year.”
James and a number of others have used The Shop — of which James is the executive producer alongside Maverick Carter — to speak out on a number of topics involving the world of sports and beyond.