Fox host Jason Whitlock called a sell-out after claiming LeBron James capitalized on Ahmaud Arbery tragedy
Whitlock accused the NBA star of hyperbole for saying, "We’re literally hunted EVERYDAY/EVERYTIME we step foot outside the comfort of our homes!"
LeBron James tweeted a passionate statement on Wednesday over the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed 25-year-old black male, who was pursued and shot to death in Georgia earlier this year by a white man and his son, who thought he was a burglar.
Graphic footage of the shooting made rounds of the internet this week, sparking public outrage as it emerged that the shooter and his son had not been arrested or charged over Arbery's death.
“We’re literally hunted EVERYDAY/EVERYTIME we step foot outside the comfort of our homes! Can’t even go for a damn jog man! Like WTF man are you kidding me?!?!?!?!?!? No man fr ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!! I’m sorry Ahmaud (Rest In Paradise) and my prayers and blessings sent to the….. heavens above to your family!!” James wrote on Twitter.
In response to James' outrage, Foxs Sports host Jason Whitlock likened the tweet to "twitter trolling."
“This isn’t helpful. It’s twitter trolling,” Whitlock wrote. “It’s using this man’s tragedy to build a brand as more outspoken than Michael Jordan. There are all kinds of ways to draw attention to this tragedy. Suggesting that we are hunted everyday/every time is just shit-stirring.”
"LeBron is the Pied Piper for a lot of athletes," he later added. "If the goal is to promote justice for Ahmaud Arbery, LeBron's rhetoric doesn't promote justice. It promotes emotion and fear, the enemies of justice. We can continue to promote emotion/fear or we can seek justice."
Considering, the connection drawn between James and Jordan was interesting. MJ's non-involvement in political and social issues were recently discussed amid ESPN hit series 'The Last Dance'. A young Jordan had once casually but controversially stated, “Republicans buy sneakers too.”
Nonetheless, James has been vocal on social and political issues throughout his career. The L.A. Lakers superstar has endorsed political candidates, publicly criticized President Donald J. Trump, and has even mildly hinted running for president in the future.
In 2012, James fervently protested over the death of 17-year old Trayvon Martin, which sparked the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I’m sorry Ahmaud (Rest In Paradise) and my prayers and blessings sent to the heavens above to your family!!” LeBron added.
Whitlock's criticism of James sparked a major backlash on Twitter.
"You always got some shit to say.. wtf are you doing, besides coonin?" retired NBA star Matt Barnes tweeted.
"You. Sir. Are an idiot. You wait to critique Lebron's response to point out he's just brand building. While you without a doubt are using Lebron to brand build. It's your only play for clout. And on this topic. You've sold your soul. Sad," NFL cornerback Chimdi Chekwa added.
"You’re a fat-headed coon. It’s a shame that you are even in the Black community," author Frederick Joseph chimed in.
"Disgusting. And desperate. So thirsty for engagement that you're using a cold-blooded murder to get off a trash ass Bron vs MJ take. I would ask how do you look in the mirror and like the person that you've become but I'm sure you never liked the person you ever were," another user wrote.
Retired police detective Gregory McMichael and his son Travis pursued Ahmaud Arbery in their pickup truck and shot him dead in broad daylight while he was jogging on February 23. The father-son duo was not arrested after the slaying. However, they could now face criminal charges after a prosecutor has requested a grand jury to look into the case following the public outcry.