After two deputies were ambushed and shot in Compton earlier this month, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva challenged LeBron James to match and double the reward money being offered for information about the gunman.
James has been vocal both on social media and thru media appearances in addressing police brutality, equality, and social injustices, specifically following the death of Georgy Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the shooting of Jacob Blake earlier this year. He hasn’t been vocal about the Compton shooting, until now.
On Sunday, during an appearance on the Spectrum SportsNet, he was specifically asked about the sheriff’s challenge and responded by saying “I have zero comment on the sheriff.”
Following the Lakers’ loss against the Nuggets on Tuesday, seven days after Villanueva’s challenge, a reporter finally asked James about the situation and the idea that James being vocal about police brutality actually incites violence.
“I’ve never, in my 35 years, condoned violence, never have,” James said. “I also know what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong. I grew up in the inner city, in a black community in what we call the hood, or the ghetto, and I’ve seen a lot of counts, first hand, of a lot of black people being, I guess, racially profiled because of our color. I’ve seen it throughout my whole life.”
I’m not saying that all cops are bad, because, throughout high school and things of that nature, I’m around them all the time. They’re not all bad. But, when you see the videos that are going on not only in my hometown but all over America, you continue to see the acts of violence toward my kind. I can’t do nothing but speak about it and see the common denominator. Not one time have I ever said, ‘Let’s act violent toward cops.’ I just said that what’s going on in our community is not OK, and we fear for that.”
LeBron responds to LA county sheriff implying he was responsible for inciting violence against police "I've never in my 35 years ever condoned violence" pic.twitter.com/x0epf5l2bb
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) September 23, 2020
The reward fund to help catch the gunman is now at $175,000. The deputies survived the shooting and have since been released from the hospital.