LeBron James, arguably the most influential athlete in America, has launched another attack on Donald Trump. The Cleveland Cavaliers star spoke about the violence in Charlottesville at the weekend and urged Americans to reject hate, saying: “The only way for us to get better as a society is love.”
On Saturday, a woman was killed after a car was deliberately driven into a crowd of anti-fascist protesters in Charlottesville. On Tuesday, Trump was sharply condemned for defending some of the far-right marchers involved in the violence when he said: “Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, not all of those people were white supremacists.”
By accepting racial protest, the NBA draws a blueprint for other sports
On Tuesday night, after Trump had tried to blame what he called the “alt-left”, James discussed Charlottesville at an event for the LeBron James Family Foundation.
He said: “I know there’s a lot of tragic things happening in Charlottesville. I just want to speak on it right now. I have this platform and I’m somebody that has a voice of command and the only way for us to get better as a society and for us to get better as people is love. And that’s the only way we’re going to be able to conquer something as one. It’s not about the guy that’s the so-called president of the United States, or whatever the case.
“It’s not about a teacher that you don’t feel like cares about what’s going on with you every day. It’s not about people that you just don’t feel like want to give the best energy and effort to you. It’s about us. It’s about us looking in the mirror. Kids all the way up to the adults. It’s about all of us looking in the mirror and saying: ‘What can we do better to help change?’ And if we can all do that and give 110%, then that’s all you can ask for.”
Earlier in the day, James had criticized the president for “making hate fashionable again”. James said on Twitter: “Hate has always existed in America. Yes we know that but Donald Trump just made it fashionable again! Statues has nothing to do with us now!”