We’ve been critical of LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva in the past as he’s no friend of gun owners or civilian gun rights. But credit where it’s due for a well-played move. LeBron James has taken great pride in cloaking himself in a veneer of social justice credibility. Where Michael Jordan actively avoided politics, noting that Republicans buy sneakers, too, James, has happily waded in on political and social issues to signal his bottomless supply of virtue social consciousness to the world.
After allowing himself to be filmed shooting a machine gun in 2014, James delivered a moving speech on “gun violence” at the 2016 ESPY awards. He’s been a dedicated gun control advocate (“There’s no room for guns“) while paying large sums to hire men with guns to ensure that he and his family stay safe.
Last month, after the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha, James opined that even lawfully-owned hunting firearms are problematic from a racial justice perspective. Guns, he said, are “not used for just hunting that a lot of people do for sport. Right now for Black people, right now when you’re hunting, we think you’re hunting us.”
James even took time out from his busy schedule recently to narrate a video promoting the idea that black Americans need to vote like their lives depend on it.
— attn (@attn) September 15, 2020
After the weekend ambush of two his deputies as they sat in their vehicle, however, Sheriff Villanueva evidently decided he’s had enough of James’ hypocritical moralizing. He announced that he wants the NBA start to put his money where his publicity-seeking mouth is and match the reward that’s been posted for information about the shooter who’s still on the loose.
From CBS News . . .
“This challenge is to Lebron James. I want you to match that and double that reward,” [Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex] Villanueva said. “I know you care about law enforcement. You expressed a very interesting statement about your perspective on race relations and on officer-involved shootings and the impact that it has on the African-American community. And I appreciated that. But likewise, we need to appreciate that respect for life goes across professions, across races, creeds, and I’d like to see LeBron James step up to the plate and double that.”
James, who has been vocal about police shootings involving Black people, had not publicly responded to the sheriff’s challenge as of early Tuesday morning. Last month,after an officer shot Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, saying that Black people in America are “terrified.”
Villanueva wants to counter the demonization of law enforcement officers that has created the climate in which cops have become targets.
“They’re out there doing their job and yet we have people fanning the flames of hatred and just turning up the volume when we don’t need it. We need to be turning it down,” Villanueva said. “Particularly our elected officials and civic leaders and sports figures, they need to start emphasizing trust in the system, due process.”
Strangely, there’s been no response yet from James to Sheriff Villanueva’s challenge. Then again, with his Lakers in the playoffs, he’s awfully busy these days. We’re sure he’ll get around to helping in the effort track down the shooter just as soon as he can.