December 19, 2014
(Via The Hill) Obama Praises LeBron James For Stoking Racial Tensions With Wearing “I Can’t Breathe” T-Shirt…
President Obama says NBA superstar LeBron James did “the right thing” when he wore a t-shirt protesting the death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner.
James and other NBA players have worn t-shirts emblazoned with “I can’t breathe,” Garner’s dying words as he was put in a chokehold by a New York City police officer.
Obama has said generally that he believed it was “important” for athletes to speak out on political and social issues. But in an interview with People magazine released Friday, he offered his strongest endorsement of the protests from James and other NBA players to date.
“You know, I think LeBron did the right thing,” Obama said.
The president noted that sports stars like Muhammad Ali, Arthur Ashe and Bill Russell played a role in “raising consciousness” in the past, and said he was pleased to see athletes doing so again.
“We went through a long stretch there where [with] well-paid athletes the notion was: just be quiet and get your endorsements and don’t make waves,” he said. “LeBron is an example of a young man who has, in his own way and in a respectful way, tried to say, ‘I’m part of this society, too’ and focus attention. (read more)