LeBron James has come out swinging against the owners of National Football League franchises.
Speaking with business partner Maverick Carter Friday on his HBO Sports series The Shop, with guest stars Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams and rapper/actor Ice Cube, the Los Angeles Lakers forward called NFL owners “old white men” who, he said, acted like slave masters.
“In the NFL they got a bunch of old white men owning teams and they got that slave mentality,” James said in the conversation. “And it’s like, ‘This is my team. You do what the f— I tell y’all to do. Or we get rid of y’all.’”
James then said it was the players who made the league, not the league making the players. “The players are who make the ship go,” James said. “Every Sunday, without Todd Gurley and without Odell Beckham Jr., without those players, those guys, there is no football. And it’s the same in the NBA.”
The NBA cares more about its players, James contended, “What we believe (a player) can be, the potential. In the NFL, it’s what can you do for me this Sunday, or this Monday, or this Thursday. And if you ain’t it, we moving on.”
James praised NBA Commissioner Adam Silver as the catalyst for the positive attitude in the hoops league. “He doesn’t mind us having … a real feeling and to be able to express that. It doesn’t even matter if Adam agrees with what we are saying, he at least wants to hear us out. As long as we are doing it in a very educational, non-violent way, then he’s absolutely okay with it.”
As to why the NBA players haven’t been involved in overt protests during the national anthem (there is a league rule mandating standing at attention, unlike the NFL’s suggestions), James claimed NBA players are “non-violent” in their protests and activism.
“I am very educated about what I believe in and I’m not doing it in a violent way,” James said. “I’m not knocking on your door saying, ‘Listen, I’m kneeling today and if you don’t kneel with me, I’ll knock you the f– out.’ But you know people go crazy when things are done outside the box. People don’t know how to react.”