LeBron James was the talk of the town Wednesday as he began training camp with his new team the Miami Heat. He's also been in the news lately for some comments he made regarding racism.
James and his manager Maverick Carter did a recent interview with CNN. They were asked if they thought race was a factor in how James has been treated following the "Decision" he made live on ESPN. Since he made his mind up in front of millions of people on national television James has received a large amount of negative press.
In the interview conducted by CNN's Soledad O'Brien, here's how James and Carter responded to the criticism:
"It's just about control and not doing it the way it's always been done or not looking the way that it always looks," Carter said.
And when asked if race played a role:
"I think so at times," James said. "It's always, you know, a race factor."
"It definitely played a role in some of the stuff coming out of the media, things that were written for sure."
In a recent Q-Score poll James was found to be one of the most hated athletes in America. Before James left for the allure of South Beach he was largely loved by sports fans across the country.
Many fans didn't like how James handled making his decision. I'm one of them but I also totally agree with James and Carter that race did play a factor in multiple ways.
From an African-American standpoint LeBron is still largely liked but some are merely disappointed in how he handled his decision in such an arrogant fashion.
Whites were angry, particularly in Cleveland, because they felt duped. They were burning his jersey in the streets of Cleveland. From an African-American standpoint this arouses visuals of what transpired when African-Americans were routinely lynched by angry whites from the late 1900's up until the 1960's and Civil Rights movement.
Because of the latter it induced a tighter bond between LeBrons' African-American fans. In essence what anger they harbored from his decision turned into them rallying around one of their own. It went from a decision about basketball to a racial situation because of the volatile aftermath.
Furthermore, when Cavalier owner Dan Gilbert issued his racially charged tirade directed towards James that was the straw that broke the camels back. Gilbert's rant was reminiscent of a slave master losing his most prized piece of property from the plantation. It was as if Gilbert were suggesting, "How dare you leave me after all I've done for you!"
Gilberts' rant prompted activists like Jesse Jackson to publicly denounce his comments because of the sensitive nature and timing of them. Jackson was right for denouncing Gilbert's comments because they were clearly showered with racial undertones.
The Q-Score is a poll, like most segments of the mainstream media, that's designed to socially engineer the public. Slice the pie as you wish but it makes no sense that the poll reveals African-Americans as the most hated athletes in America. They are:
1. Michael Vick
2. Tiger Woods
3. Terrell Owens
4. Chad Ochocinco
5. Kobe Bryant
6. LeBron James
Where are the white athletes?
Where is Roger Clemens who has shamed himself and baseball?
Where is Ben Roethlisberger who engaged in reckless behavior and was accused multiple times of sexual assault?
Where is Brett Favre who continually holds teams hostage and acts like a child that doesn't get enough attention from mommy?
Where is Lance Armstrong? He is currently engulfed in a steroid controversy but he's absent from the list.
Whites are absent from the poll because it defeats the general aim of it: to paint a negative light around African-Americans by way of racial stereotypes in sport so that negativity will infiltrate society to keep America divided along racial lines.
Also, whites are absent from the poll because they can make the connection due to complexion. The sports media is a lily-white world. Facts indicate 94 and 88 percent respectively of the Sports Editors and Columnists are white males.
What does this mean?
It means whites generally can identify with people whom they can connect with. This leads to whites covering white athletes in a more favorable light. Nothing wrong with that but shouldn't the media be more diverse so James can be interviewed by someone who looks like me?
I wrote commentary about James and the media. It revealed the despicable fact that even though the NBA is 80-percent African-American, James was only covered by one African-American journalist from the greater Cleveland area. It quickly went to zero because he lost his position.
I love the fact James spoke his mind. I love the fact he put something out there that many athletes would have been afraid to.
So what happens now?
What should happen is that a collective discussion about race should ensue and continue. In order for whites to understand how, I think they must have be open-minded to the possibility that another reality exists beyond their own vantage point.
There's a segment of white America which often labels people like me a racist because I talk about race-based topics. Now people will think James is racist because he feels he's endured racism from the media.
How can telling the truth constitute as being a racist?
Before you blame James, ask the following question: Does what James asserts have merit?
Does what I write regarding this matter have merit?
Bottom line: In order to constructively cure a disease it first must be diagnosed to identify the root cause of the ailment. Once it's detected it can be treated so it can heal and be cured.
Racism is a disease that surely needs to be properly diagnosed yet so many are afraid to engage in pursuing a collective cure.
Follow Dexter Rogers on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DextersVPoint