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Play ball LeBron

They stand for the national anthem in the NBA, but James goes along with the NFL players referring to mistreatment as the reason for the disrespect shown for this country

By Arnie Leshin 
Arnie Leshin

Wonder if the greatest basketball player on the planet is playing politics or just finding time to speak his mind while being frustrated at being down 0-3 to the reigning champion Golden State Warriors?

That’s Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James for you. He’s again taking issues with the national anthem controversy, but that’s football, pro football, and when you are in the position of this popular billionaire, you might as well toss in some more jabs at President Trump.

That’s the political side. He’s a registered Democrat who campaigned for Hillary Clinton, and he’s in that crowd that doesn’t cheer for the winner, but does cheer for him whether on the basketball court or as he speaks on whatever comes up.

But throwing darts at the President doesn’t speak well for this country. In other lands, he’d be tossed in jail, and wonder why he left the USA. No more cashing huge checks, no more getting to do what he does best and no more talking trash that you have to pay for.

But here’s the problem. James has admitted he’s not seen an NBA team kneeling, not noticed that a player or players were hanging out in the locker room, and everything was smooth.

Same with Major League baseball, which hasn’t had any disrespect for the national anthem since Carlos Delgado left the scene and even apologized.

Softball? Well, if you watched the recent women’s NCAA championships, you saw nothing but each team standing, some even singing along, and not a single controversy.

Tennis? Well in the professional World Tennis Association that includes Americans and foreigner players, all matches are played in the United States and everybody stands for the national anthem. No problem at all.

Pro soccer, too, is mixed with Americans and those from other lands. I’ve watched it played many times and was even surprised to see the teams and coaches, even the fans when they play in the USA, stand for the national anthem. That’s neat.

As for the college sports, some did knell after the controversy came about, but then stood and even sang after their respective schools informed them that it was disrespectful. Even the high school athletes put the kneeling to rest after hearing from their administrators.

But the NFL remains the culprit. And probably gets a kick out of explaining it is doing this because of being mistreated, even now when the NFL fills up stadiums and paying the already wealthy players to furnish the entertainment.

No NFL team really cares about racism. No team will take a white player over one of another color. Winning comes first, and to do so, you put the best players on the field.

But James takes the side offered by these jocks. Does he see anything relating to mistreatment? In his sport, you often turn to a college or pro game and find the court occupied by 4, maybe 5 black players, as well as foreign players, but you don’t hear spectators or viewers voicing complaints. They prefer their teams to win with the best players.

So much for the NBA, where James has never caused a problem by kneeling or protesting the national anthem. But he doesn’t agree with what this administration has taken steps on this subject. But no one in the nation’s capitol is telling him how to play basketball.

That’s his call, while the White House is responsible for more peaceful times in this country, less controversy regarding the national anthem, and just trying to continue respecting the red, white and blue stars and stripes.

I served this country, but back in those days it was more about protesting the war in the schools, the streets, and bringing violence and killing when the National Guard was called in.

Sure the Vietnam War was a mess, a 10-year mess where our troops were always outnumbered in a country where we fought the VNA (Vietnam National Army) and the well-organized Vietcong. Who knows what we were doing there, but 60,000 US troops were killed and there are still thousands never found.

LeBron James should read about this war. We had draft dodgers, some who relocated to Canada, and the others just put on their uniforms and followed their orders, Vietnam or bust! It might have been the place they were sent to, but that’s the call of the military and our troops followed orders.

Now President Trump has annoyed not only NFL players, but James. Play the game, superstar, and cease attacking the man in the White House. He won fair and square even though you didn’t like him from the start. Neither did Hillary, but it was she who lost, and you should only be concerned about losing basketball games and not mixing it with politics.

And good luck, James, in game 4 on your home court. That’s what you should wish for, and worry more about the politics of the game where you are at the top of the heap. And if you become president of this country, then it’s your call, and you, too, will hear insults.

With all due respect to the rest of the globe, God Bless America.

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