As Game One of the NBA Finals turned into a runaway, ABC/ESPN (owned by Disney Corp.) decided to liven things up with a teaching moment. The otherwise excellent reporter, Doris Burke, was summoned court-side to remind everyone that LeBron James’s home had been spray-painted with the N word.
James had already opined to media: “It goes to show that racism will always be a part of the world, a part of America. Hate in America, especially for African Americans, is living every day.”
Echoing James’s earlier remarks, Burke delivered the kind of homily for which ESPN has lately become infamous. Using the incident, Burke launched into pious chat about the stain of racism in America.
As we learned from the “Hands up, don’t shoot” scam in Ferguson, Mo., and Rolling Stone’s University of Virginia phoney rape allegations against a fraternity and staff, progressive media don’t let a little thing like proof get in the way of a chance to lecture America on its abject failings – such as electing Donald Trump.
The debate over now-unemployed NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick refusing to stand for the national anthem featured the sort of partisan arbitrage from the media that has come to be their calling card. Sports networks have become talking shops for the liberal guilt industry of late. Leagues like the NBA – which took its all star game away from North Carolina over the issue of toilet access – follow suit.
ESPN’s hemorrhaging subscriber numbers are, in some part, a reaction from fans who wish ESPN would just stick to sports.
But the absurdity of a man worth hundreds of millions – perhaps a billion – of dollars, who has been afforded every break by white America, playing the race card is truly dismaying. James had a chance to make a positive statement: “Yes, this was painted on my gate. But we’ve come too far to let small people stop us. There will always be haters, but I want to move forward.”
That was Michael Jordan’s take with his famous, “Republicans buy running shoes, too.” He had no time for division.
Of course, James didn’t take a positive spin. He embraced the Gatorade bottle half empty. Harkening to the acute politicization of race (and victimhood) by Barack Obama in his eight years as president, James chose to turn an unsolved crime into a chance to get right with Black Lives Matter and the braying fools at U.S. colleges.
James – like Kaepernick – chose to cash in on his celebrity to buy acceptance from the progressive black community. No doubt under tremendous pressure in his community to acquiesce to the extremists, James caved. The man who’s at his best under pressure wanted none of it here. It was easier to roll over.
Black journalist Jason Whitlock noticed and was not impressed. “I believe LeBron is controlled by handlers and has moved into the political arena,” he tweeted. Whitlock mocked James’s adoption of a grievance attitude, saying he was “embracing his victimhood” and that the graffiti “wasn’t that big of a deal.“
Stating the obvious, Whitlock added, “racism only affects the poor,” and a rich man like James, living behind a security fence, looks absurd playing the injured party.
Whitlock, who does believe in racism, was challenged by NFL player Martellus Bennett, another rich man parading in a hair shirt: “Too many in position to promote change side-step the opportunity. If those on top don’t lift others up, they need move their ass away.”
Whitlock derided his political virtue-spinning: “Spray-painted slurs is the safe, shallow end of the pool. Go ahead and splash around there. Right depth for you.”
Whitlock is used to digging in his heels to bullies. James was not. Neither was ESPN, nor its Disney owners.
Unfortunately, that’s the legacy of progressives such as former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder, who called Americans “cowards” for not abasing themselves to race in a manner he demanded.
A man with enough money to feed a small town sees himself as a victim.
Troy Media columnist Bruce Dowbiggin career includes successful stints in television, radio and print. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he is also the publisher of Not The Public Broadcaster.