Activists pressuring northeast Ohio’s most famous resident to ride the pine until until the Department of Justice “imprisons the murderers of Tamir Rice” will have to find another superstar to join their cause.
In fact, he admitted, he isn’t up to speed on the debate.
“For me, I’ve always been a guy who’s took pride in knowledge of every situation that I’ve ever spoke on,” James told ESPN. “And to be honest, I haven’t really been on top of this issue, so it’s hard for me to comment.
He added: “I understand that any lives that’s lost, what we want more than anything is prayer and the best for the family, for anyone. But for me to comment on the situation, I don’t have enough knowledge about it.”
Using the hashtag #NoJusticeNoLebron, activists, led by writer Tariq Touré, unleashed their Twitter campaign on Tuesday asking the NBA superstar to put his season on hold until the Department of Justice — which is investigating the fatal November 2014 shooting — takes action.
The campaign split Twitter users, with some urging to James to follow the social justice lead of famous black athletes Muhammad Ali and James Brown, but others saying activists’ request was too large to foist upon one man.
Some supporters of the campaign cited the successful ouster of University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe — aided by striking university football players — as an example of the inherent power of athletes to influence change.
In his remarks Tuesday night, James appeared to agree with naysayers, telling ESPN, “the issue is bigger than LeBron.”
“This issue is bigger than me, it’s about everyone,” he said. “And gun violence and tragedies and kids losing lives at a young age, some way, somehow we need to understand that that matters more than just an individual.”
James said he hadn’t heard about the campaign to enlist his help until Cavs media relations staffers got him up to speed and told him he might be asked about the effort, according to Cleveland.com.
“I caught a little bit of it from my folks on the side saying that you guys might ask me about it, but I have no knowledge,” James told ESPN. “I’m not much of a social media guy. I’m on it, for sure, but I’m not always looking at what’s going on in it.”
Though he’s not up to speed on the latest information about the Rice case, James has commented and lent his star power to Rice’s case and others involving controversial police killings of black men.
Last year, James — who donned a hoodie in honor of Trayvon Martin with Heat teammates in 2012 — said Rice’s death showed “how much further we still have to go,” according to Cleveland.com.
James also wore an “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirt alongside teammate Kyrie Irving during warmups before a game in Brooklyn last season, Cleveland.com noted. The shirts were unveiled to draw attention to a Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict officer Daniel Pantaleo in the choking death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man whose death was captured on video.
We applaud Steve Jobs posthumously for his ability to undermine reality & innovate. We say greatest Player don't play and U say be real...— TariqTouré طارق تورى (@TariqToure) December 30, 2015