After a basketball game Tuesday, the Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James talked about how his press people had given him a heads-up that he might get a few questions about the Tamir Rice case, ESPN reports.
Activists on Twitter launched the #NoJusticeNoLeBron hashtag to encourage James to boycott his NBA games until a federal prosecutor indicts the police officer who shot and killed the 12-year-old, since an Ohio grand jury did not.
James told a reporter that he wasn't up to speed on the case. "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," he said.
That's odd, because in February, during an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, James weighed in extensively on the case, saying that he and his wife had the conversation with their young sons about toy guns. James said that his sons are not allowed to take their toy guns out of the house.
“I have those conversations with my boys. They have tons of play guns. None of them look real. We have Nerf guns that are lime green and purple and yellow. But I don’t even let them take them out of the house,” James said.
That clearly touches on the idea that continues to haunt black parents: that their children—especially their boys—have to live by a different set of rules than white children because of how they're perceived.
The only thing that has changed in the Tamir Rice case since that interview is that a grand jury decided that the officer who killed the 12-year-old would not be indicted. So I'm not sure what new information James feels he needs to know in order to weigh in on the lack of indictments in the case, or calls for him to boycott NBA games.
But to be fair, if James said that he wouldn't boycott, that might appear insensitive. And he probably hasn't weighed the pros and cons of the boycott idea. Heck, black Twitter hasn't even reached a consensus on whether a boycott would do any good.
James said that his not being on social media prevents him from commenting any further.
"I caught a little bit of it from my folks on the side, saying that you guys might ask me about it, but I have no knowledge," James said. "I'm not much of a social media guy. I'm on it, for sure, but I'm not always looking at what's going on in it."
James did say that he feels he's been very "outspoken" about issues near and dear to his heart, perhaps referring to when, back in 2012, he corralled his then-Miami Heat teammates to wear hoodies in honor of the late Trayvon Martin.
"First of all, I think I've been very outspoken about what I believe in," James said, "what hits home for me, what I am [knowledgeable] about," he said.
He went on to argue that there are a lot of issues that bother him, but because he's not terribly versed in the ins and outs of the arguments surrounding some of them, he chooses not to speak out publicly.
"There's been the San Bernardino massacre; there's been guys going in movie theaters, shooting up movie theaters; there's been other issues. Those are not something that … I don't have much knowledge of, so I don't speak about it," he explained. "So for me … if I feel like it's something that I have a lot of knowledge about [I'll add my voice to the issue], because I don't like to speak when I don't know about it."
He added that the Tamir Rice incident is bigger than him or his career: "But I think the most important thing that we all need to understand, the most important thing, this issue is bigger than LeBron. This issue is bigger than me; it's about everyone. And gun violence and tragedies and kids losing lives at a young age, some way, somehow, we need to understand that that matters more than just an individual."
Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features video interviews with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.