LeBron James urged calm on the city of Cleveland after a policeman was acquitted in the shooting deaths of two unarmed blacks, a decision that sparked protests that resulted in 71 arrests Saturday night.
“Violence is not the answer, and it’s all about trying to find a solution for good or for bad,” James said Saturday (via ESPN). “For me, in any case, anything that goes on in our world or in our America, the only people that we should be worried about [are] the families that’s lost loved ones. You can’t get them back. You can never get them back. We should worry about the families and how they’re doing and things of that nature.”
James and the Cavaliers return to Cleveland for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night and it was unclear whether there would be protests by players, as there were last year after incidents between white police and blacks raised questions about the use of force in Cleveland, St. Louis, New York and other communities. Michael Brelo was acquitted on two counts of voluntary manslaughter after he climbed onto the hood of a car and fired 49 times at its unarmed occupants after a police chase. He and 12 other officers fired 137 rounds at Timothy Russell and his passenger, Malissa Williams, who were killed after a police chase last November.
James, as did other athletes, wore an “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirt to support the family of Eric Garner last fall and was a leader in speaking out about Donald Sterling’s ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers last year. When he was with the Miami Heat, he and his teammates wore hoodies after Trayvon Martin was shot to death.
As of Saturday night, though, James was still studying the situation. “Obviously I’m going to take a look at it and read up on it,” James said, “and if I get more knowledge about it, then I may give a statement, I may say something. … I know my position, I know my power, I know my responsibility. I take it very seriously. So whatever ways I’m able to affect anyone’s lives for the greater good, I’m blessed and I’m happy I’m able to do that, and I don’t take it for granted.”