#NoJusticeNoLeBron is the latest hashtag activism movement gaining traction on Twitter, but for as many tweeters as there are calling for Lebron James to sit out games until the cops involved in Tamir Rice’s killing are put behind bars, there’s a group of people asking what’s the point?
Naysayers aren’t asking that question out of a place of apathy, but more an understanding that the action being requested of Lebron does not lead to the desired outcome of justice for 12-year-old Tamir. Earlier this week, a Cleveland grand jury declined to prosecute the two police officers involved in the fatal November 2014 shooting of Tamir and Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty agreed with the decision. Upon hearing the news, the family of Tamir released a statement saying, “We renew our request that the Department of Justice step in to conduct a real investigation into this tragic shooting of a 12-year-old child,” and it’s on the basis of that request that fans are calling for Lebron to sit out all games until the DOJ does just that.
While that action from one of the greatest players on the court — an Ohio native no less who plays for the team of the city in which Tamir was killed — would no doubt be a powerful display of solidarity but that won’t put men behind bars and, quite frankly, it shouldn’t. The DOJ should open an investigation into Tamir’s death because a child was shot for playing with a toy gun, not because the Cleveland Cavaliers start losing games because their star player isn’t on the court and it’s a bad look for the NBA. Further, it’s a waste of time to petition Lebron to sit on the sidelines in the name of justice when he can’t even speak on the case — or won’t. Asked about the lack of indictment after a recent game, King James said:
“For me, I’ve always been a guy who’s took pride in knowledge of every situation that I’ve ever spoke on. And to be honest, I haven’t really been on top of this issue. So it’s hard for me to comment. I understand that any lives that [are] 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.”
And people expect this man to sit out games? I’m more disappointed in that response than the fact that he’ll lace up his sneakers for the next Cavs match-up.
The bottom line is no one should have to be persuaded into activism. If Lebron gave a damn about Tamir Rice’s killing he would’ve kept up on the case, he would’ve had the knowledge about it to comment on it when asked, and he’d be doing what he felt was right in response. There’s no sense chiding him for not sitting out games and putting the weight of justice solely on his back when that was actually the job of the grand jury which failed us all December 28, 2015. Now if you want to get into him being a part of the widely publicized #WeAreTrayvonMartin hoodie movement of 2012 but dropping the ball when he had a chance to stand up for Tamir Rice, that’s something to talk about.