LeBron Responds to Zlatan Comments

Star Swedish soccer player Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who previously played for the LA Galaxy and the LA Lakers Professional Basketball player LeBron James have very differing opinions on athletes’ influence in social affairs. On Feb. 26th, Zlatan criticized LeBron and other athletes who got involved socially and politically, ¨[LeBron] is phenomenal at what he’s doing, but I don’t like when people have some kind of status, they go and do politics at the same time… I don’t do politics. If I would be a political politician, I would do politics. That is the first mistake people do when they become famous and they become in a certain status. Stay out of it. Just do what you do best because it doesn’t look good”(ESPN).

“I would never shut up about things that are wrong. I preach about my people, and I preach about equality.”

LeBron James

LeBron James has been very active socially and politically during his career. LeBron pushed for voter turnout among African Americans and the youth in the 2020 Presidential Election. LeBron´s More than a Vote organization had more than 40,000 people help out during the presidential election. LeBron responded to Zlatan by saying, ¨ I would never shut up about things that are wrong. I preach about my people, and I preach about equality. Social injustice. Racism. Systematic voter suppression. Things that go on in our community… I’m their voice, and I use my platform to continue to shed light on everything that may be going on, not only in my community, but around this country and around the world” (SB Nation). 

Zlatan days later doubled down on his comments about LeBron James by stating that politics is the thing that divides people and it is athletics that unite people. Many people speculated that Zlatan’s comments may reflect Fox News host Laura Ingraham´s ¨shut up and dribble¨ comments in 2018 that stem from LeBron James being active in political arguments against President Trump. Ingraham was critizated from a large crowd due to the fact that many people involved in sports like Hershel Walker appeared on her show to discuss support of President Trump and conservative policy. Most people reacting to Zlatan’s comments find Zlatans point of view very similar to Ingraham´s.

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