The Los Angeles Lakers were fresh off an impressive win over Portland on Wednesday night, but LeBron James had something else on his mind when he spoke to reporters. He asked reporters why they aren’t asking him to comment on the recent Jerry Jones controversy in the same way that they obsessed over Kyrie Irving.
The photograph recently came to light that shows a teenage Jerry Jones seemingly taking part in a protest against black students entering his Little Rock High School.
“On Sept. 9, 1957, Jones was one of a few dozen White teenagers who confronted a group of Black students outside the doors of North Little Rock High in Arkansas. A photograph of the encounter taken by a photographer from the Associated Press centers on two White students — one laughing, one with a cigarette in his snarl — staring down one of the Black students. Shortly after the photo was taken, the Black students were pushed back down the stairs to the street, their effort to integrate the school rejected by force, at least for the time being.
And in the background, a few feet behind the snarling kid, you can see Jerry Jones.”
Kyrie Irving, who is now playing in games, was suspended by the Brooklyn Nets for several games after sharing a link to an Alex Jones movie which many believed included antisemitic tropes. LeBron was asked about Kyrie, but he wondered why the media did not do the same with Jerry Jones as LeBron was once a Cowboys fans before denouncing his fandom recently.
“I was wondering why I haven’t gotten a question from you guys about the Jerry Jones photo. But when the Kyrie [Irving] thing was going on, you guys were quick to ask us questions about that.”
“When I watch Kyrie talk and he says, ‘I know who I am, but I want to keep the same energy when we’re talking about my people and the things that we’ve been through,’ and that Jerry Jones photo is one of those moments that our people, Black people, have been through in America. And I feel like as a Black man, as a Black athlete, as someone with power and a platform, when we do something wrong, or something that people don’t agree with, it’s on every single tabloid, every single news coverage, it’s on the bottom ticker. It’s asked about every single day.
“But it seems like to me that the whole Jerry Jones situation, photo — and I know it was years and years ago and we all make mistakes, I get it — but it seems like it’s just been buried under, like, ‘Oh, it happened. OK, we just move on.’ And I was just kind of disappointed that I haven’t received that question from you guys.”
He then walked off.
LeBron condemned Kyrie for sharing “hurtful information” but ultimately came back and began to defend him. As for the Cowboys, James stated back in October he was no longer supporting the team because of Jones’ response to the social justice protests that swept the NFL six years ago.
“Nah, man. I had to sit out on the Cowboys, man,” James said on Instagram Live when he was asked if he was still a Cowboys fan. “There’s just a lot of things that were going on when guys were kneeling. Guys were having freedom of speech and wanting to do it in a very peaceful manner. … The organization was like, ‘If you do that around here then you will never play for this franchise again.’ I just didn’t think that was appropriate.”
Irving and James played together for six seasons (2011-2017) on the Cleveland Cavaliers.