After news broke that Officer Timothy Loehmann would not be facing charges for shooting 12-year-old Tamir Rice, many citizens took to Twitter to discuss their general outrage over the extreme miscarriage of justice.
Rice was playing with a toy gun in a local park and was fatally shot within two seconds of Loehmann’s arrival on the scene. Both officers, Loehmann and Frank Garmback, failed to administer medical aid to Tamir upon shooting the unarmed child, instead, handcuffing his 14 year-old sister when she attempted to help her brother.
Since the non-indictment, activists have called for Cleveland Cavaliers basketball star LeBron James to stop playing until Loehmann is arrested. Many activists view the success of the University of Missouri football team’s strike earlier this year as a litmus test for the power that athletes wield in cases of social injustices. The football team’s strike prompted the resignation of high-profile administrators at the school, including the president.
However, some critics say that the burden shouldn’t be solely placed on LeBron James simply because he calls Cleveland home. Instead, they suggest that high-profile athletes across the board should join in a protest, as the issue of police brutality and terrorism is a nationwide epidemic.
“The systemic nature of excessive police violence and the lack of police accountability that allows the Officer Loehmann’s, the Officer Pantaleo’s and the Officer Wilson’s off the hook for their brutality is occurring all over the United States,” writes Lincoln A. Blades for The Grio. “We don’t just need LeBron James to speak out, we also need Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, Skylar Diggins, Brittney Griner, Todd Gurley, Ryan Howard and Serena and Venus Williams to join in.”
— TariqTouré طارق تورى (@TariqToure) December 29, 2015
— ☻ᏒᎥϮ ♛ (@Empress_Orit) December 29, 2015
To everyone on the #NoJusticeNoLebron hashtag. You do realize he has a contractual obligation to play? Spectators should boycott the games.
— Man like Fred (@topeoyerinde) December 29, 2015
I understand the sentiment, but #NoJusticeNoLebron isn't analogous to the Mizzou football boycott and wouldn't have the same outcome.
— Aaron Ferguson (@aaronferguson92) December 29, 2015
Many activists want sports stars to take note of the past and be today’s versions of Muhammad Ali and Jim Brown, standing up against the multitude of injustices in this country. The question is, do current stars have the courage to speak truth to power? In some cases yes, but for many, their lucrative deals may persuade them not to.