LeBron James sat down with Los Angeles Rams superstar Todd Gurley in the latest episode of the HBO series 'The Shop,' a 30-minute weekly talk show produced by James and business partner Maverick Carter, and which features athletes and celebrities discussing sports and life.
During Friday's episode where the focus was on the misappropriated adoption of Black culture and the NFL, King James slammed NFL owners for operating with a “slave mentality.” James also went on to criticize the system of non-guaranteed contracts in the NFL.
“In the NFL they got a bunch of old white men owning teams and they got that slave mentality,” James said during the episode. “And it’s like, ‘This is my team. You do what I f**kin' I tell y’all to do. Or we get rid of y’all.’"
"The players are who make the ship go. We make it go. Every Sunday, without Todd Gurley and without Odell Beckham Jr., without those players, those guys, there is no football. And it’s the same in the NBA."
“Give us that credit by standing with us so we can stand together.” @KingJames and @Nas discuss how black culture is adopted, and the lack of voices speaking up when injustice is present. A new episode of #TheShopHBO is now streaming. pic.twitter.com/W7UbPwO7YC— HBO (@HBO) December 22, 2018
Comparing the NFL to the NBA throughout the episode, which also featured actor/rapper Ice Cube, James went on to praise NBA commissioner Adam Silver for his support of players who use their platform to speak out on social issues.
Silver, in contrast, "doesn't mind us having... a real feeling and be able to express that," the LA Lakers superstar said. "It doesn't even matter if Adam agrees with what we are saying, he at least wants to hear us out. And as long as we are doing it in a very educational, non-violent way, then he's absolutely OK with it."
The NFL hasn't been able to shake the controversy that erupted after former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the pre-game national anthem to protest social and racial injustice.
Kaepernick, who remains without a job in the league, alleged that he has been blacklisted over his protests, but he continues to pursue a lawsuit accusing all 32 owners of colluding against him in retaliation.
LeBron airing out NFL owners on #TheShopHBO 🔥— The Man Who Sold The World (@LordBalvin) December 22, 2018
"In the NFL, they got a bunch of old white men owning teams and they got that slave mentality," pic.twitter.com/XLXNPZ8wkK
The political friction in the NFL has also spilled over the annual tradition of the Halftime Show. Earlier this year, after Rihanna and Mary J Blige refused to perform during the 13-minute slot at the 2019 Super Bowl in solidarity with Kaepernick, the honor of performing at what has become the least coveted gig of the year went to Maroon 5.
As we reported earlier this week, Maroon 5 were struggling to find a guest act to join them on stage for the performance but on Friday, finally seemed to find a willing partner in 'Astroworld' hitmaker Travis Scott. But Scott is already being criticized for his decision by some of his most high-profile fans including Jay-Z and Meek Mills.