Initially, when I heard Lebron James the CNN program ‘Rick’s List’ on Wednesday night say that he felt like race played a role in his negative feedback from his “decision” I totally disagreed with him.
It couldn’t be race. Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Charles Barkley all disagreed with his decision to join the Miami Heat. Race wasn’t a factor, the factor was that he essentially taunted everyone by dangling his decision in everyone’s face on a national telecast and snatching away hopes and dreams and dismantling economies in several cities, particularliy Cleveland.
Yes, he has the right to choose where he wants to work. Yes, he can make his decision in whatever form he chooses, but did he really think everyone would just be cool with it and let it slide? As I’m writing this, I think to myself about John Elway, Eli Manning, and Peyton Manning.
Both Elway and Eli forced draft day trades because they refused to play for the Baltimore Colts and San Diego Chargers respectively. Did they face detractors and significant backlash, sure, but not to the level of Lebron. And you can’t help but wonder, what if Peyton Manning had done the exact same thing as Lebron before he eventually won his lone Super Bowl Championship in 2006.
Well, what if Peyton Manning did the same thing? It wouldn’t be as serious as what Lebron has done. Both are Mega Superstars in small market cities. We see both in national advertising campaigns and we’ve come to love both athletes, until now.
Of course this is all speculation, but I don’t think any sane minded, red blooded American can deny that Peyton wouldn’t face the backlash that Lebron has faced. It’s not ironic that the top six athletes in the new Q ratings are black.
The first non-black athlete to appear is Ben Roethlisberger, who has been accused twice of sexual assault. Lebron has just never won a championship and made a decision to play for another team yet he’s ranked higher than Roethlisberger.
You can use the defense of it not being racially related and say well MJ, Magic, and Charles all went off on him. Old people everyday talk about how “back in their day” things were this way and they did it a better way than you new young punks!
We also see black on black crime everyday as well, and that might be a stretch for me to take it there, but it must be said. Charles went to go play with Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler in search of a championship. Jordan did have Scottie, and Magic walked into a ready made championship team, but oh how the legends forget these subtle facts.
Either way, say what you want about Lebron’s decision. Just make sure you ask yourself what if Peyton Manning had done the exact same thing. Television show and all with his parents and Eli flanking both his shoulders. Would he face the same criticism as Lebron? I can be honest with myself, I hope you can do the same.
That’s all I got,