“The Ingraham Angle” host Laura Ingraham has responded to the criticism hurled her way after she told LeBron James to “shut up and dribble.”
The Fox News host on Thursday, Feb. 15 hit back at James’ comments on “Rolling with the Champion” where he said President Donald Trump “really don’t give a f— about the people.”
“This is what happens when you attempt to leave high school a year early to join the NBA,” she said after claiming James’ remarks were racist. “And it’s always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball. … Millions elected Trump to be their coach. So, keep the political commentary to yourself or as someone once said, shut up and dribble.”
After Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade and Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long defended the Cleveland Cavaliers forward Friday, James posted on Instagram that he is “more than an athlete” and added the hashtag, #WeWillNotShutUpAndDribble.
Many have also accused Ingraham of being racist in her demand that James stop the political talk and just stick to basketball.
“That video of Laura Ingraham being racist as hell toward Lebron James is a disgrace and her smug confidence of knowing she’ll get away with it is exactly what racism looks like,” tweeted writer Rebecca Carroll.
Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant, who also appeared on the Cari Campion-hosted web series, also responded to Ingraham.
“Ignorance is something I try to ignore. That was definitely an ignorant comment,” he told USA Today. “To me, it was racist.” Durant’s response appears to have rubbed a guest on Ingraham’s show the wrong way as he proceeds to call the NBA champion star “weak.”
Now, Ingraham is hitting back and declaring her remarks had “no racial intent.”
“In 2003, I wrote a New York Times best-seller called ‘Shut Up & Sing,’ in which I criticized celebrities like the Dixie Chicks & Barbra Streisand who were trashing then-President George W. Bush,” she said in a statement issued through Fox News obtained by Deadline. “I have used a variation of that title for more than 15 years to respond to performers who sound off on politics. I’ve told Robert DeNiro to ‘Shut Up & Act,’ Jimmy Kimmel to ‘Shut Up & Make Us Laugh,’ and just this week told the San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich to ‘Shut up & Coach.’
“If pro athletes and entertainers want to freelance as political pundits, then they should not be surprised when they’re called out for insulting politicians,” she added. “There was no racial intent in my remarks – false, defamatory charges of racism are a transparent attempt to immunize entertainment and sports elites from scrutiny and criticism. Additionally, we stated on my show that these comments came from an ESPN podcast, which was not the case – the content was unaffiliated with ESPN.”
Ingraham also said on her Friday night show that if James were “a white NBA player and he said that stuff that he said [about Trump] about [former President Barack] Obama, he’d never play again.”