I believe the phrase is: “He tried it.”
On Monday, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva did something that should come as a surprise to nobody—and by nobody, I mean Black folks. In being acutely aware of LeBron James’ penchant for calling out racial inequity and police misconduct, Villanueva called James out in an effort to seek justice for two LA County deputies who were “ambushed” and shot on Saturday evening.
LA County has put up a $100,000 reward for information leading to the gunman’s arrest and conviction, and two private donors have put up an additional $75,000. So why not press outspoken-ass, rich-ass, Black-ass LeBron to get involved?
“This challenge is to LeBron James,” Villanueva said on 790 KABC Radio in Los Angeles. “I want you to match that and double that reward. Because I know you care about law enforcement.
“You expressed a very, very interesting statement about your perspective on race relations and on officer-involved shootings and the impact it has on the African American community, and I appreciate that. But likewise, we need to appreciate the respect for life goes across professions, across races, creeds. And I’d like to see LeBron James step up to the plate and double that.”
Does that same respect for life that goes across professions, races and creeds apply to Breonna Taylor? I could prattle off a much longer list of names, but hers seems timely considering that her family just settled with the same city that has yet to bring her killers to justice.
But in keeping that same energy in regards to “respect for life,” the foul aroma of hypocrisy seems to have upset Vanessa Bryant, as well. In the aftermath of Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s deaths in January, it was Villanueva who revealed that eight deputies—the same deputies entrusted to protect and serve our communities—had leaked graphic photos of the helicopter crash that stole the lives of Kobe, Gianna, and seven others.
So in response to Villanueva’s challenge to LeBron, Vanessa aired Villanueva out on social media and reminded everyone that this is the last dude who should be calling out any-damn-body. In a series of stories on her Instagram, she reminded the world that this is the same guy demanding trust when his own deputies couldn’t even be trusted to protect her family’s privacy.
“How can he talk about trusting the system?” one of the tweets Bryant reposted read. “His sheriff’s department couldn’t be trusted to secure Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crash scene, his deputies took and shared graphic photos of crash victims. Vanessa Bryant is suing them.”
Where is the lie?
LeBron has yet to respond to Villaneuva’s challenge, but one thing is clear: if his Sheriff’s office made it a point to consistently treat Black people as human beings, we’d be a lot more apt to help bring this shooter to justice.