Sports journalist Jason Whitlock got skewered online for criticizing LeBron James after he tweeted about Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed Brunswick, Georgia, Black man who was jogging through a neighborhood when he was chased down by a white father-son duo and shot to death on the street in February. The two men have not been arrested or charged for the slaying.
James said the killing is an example of how everyday life can be extremely dangerous for Black people. Footage of the killing surfaced earlier this week, to national outrage.
“We’re literally hunted EVERYDAY/EVERYTIME we step foot outside the comfort of our homes!” tweeted James on Wednesday, May 6. “Can’t even go for a damn jog man! Like WTF man are you kidding me?!?!?!?!?!? No man fr ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!! I’m sorry Ahmaud(Rest In Paradise) and my prayers and blessings sent to the heavens above to your family!!🙏🏾✊🏾❤️ #StayWoke #ProfiledCauseWeAreSimplyBlack😢😢.”
Whitlock, a columnist and co-host of FS1’s “Speak for Yourself,” tweeted his disapproval of James soon afterward and accused him of trying to separate himself from Michael Jordan.
Jordan has been long accused of remaining silent on political and social matters involving Black people, something that was brought up in ESPN’s docuseries “The Last Dance.”
“This isn’t helpful. It’s twitter trolling,” Whitlock tweeted about James’ message. “It’s using this man’s tragedy to build a brand as more outspoken than Michael Jordan. There are all kinds of ways to draw attention to this tragedy. Suggesting that we are hunted everyday/every time is just sh*t-stirring.”
Messages that ripped Whitlock came one after the other. Retired NBA player Matt Barnes slammed him and wrote, “You always got some sh*t to say.. wtf are you doing, besides coonin?”
“He’s real life Uncle Ruckus. He hates his Black skin so much,” someone else tweeted.
Another person wrote, “Disgusting. And desperate. So thirsty for engagement that youre using a cold blooded murder to get off a trash ass Bron vs MJ take. I would ask how do you look in the mirror and like the person that youve become but Im sure you never liked the person you ever were.”
Whitlock has spent plenty of time over the years going at James for one thing or another. In 2017 when someone spray-painted the N-word on the front gate of James’ Los Angeles home, he said that being Black in America is “tough.”
Whitlock responded by saying that James “Has removed himself from the damages and ravages of real racism.”
Serena Williams hasn’t escaped his harsh criticism either. Whitlock once called her an “underachiever” and that she “lacks the courage to fulfill her destiny.”
Another person who called out Whitlock after he slammed James for addressing Arbery’s killing was Marc Lamont Hill, an activist and television personality.
“My brother, it would seem from your tweets on this matter that you’re more outraged by Lebron’s comment than the young man being murdered,” tweeted Hill. “I’m not saying you feel that way, but why focus on cynically unpacking Lebron’s tweet rather than calling out the murder?”