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Hear A Dog Whistle? It’s LeBron, Democrats Exploiting George Floyd The Way Republicans Exploited Willie Horton

LeBron James’ enthusiastic, headfirst dive into politics is at the root of my aversion to the NBA star.

Wednesday, James returned to the presidential campaign trail when a reporter asked him about President Donald Trump’s statement that he turns off his television when he sees NBA players supporting Black Lives Matter and kneeling during the national anthem.

“I really don’t think the basketball community are sad about losing viewership, him viewing the game,” James told NBA bubble reporters. “And that’s all I got to say.”

Of course, James’ grammatical and political eloquence did not stop there. The More Than An Athlete activist stumped for voters. 

“I hope everyone, no matter the race, no matter the color, no matter the size, will see what leadership that we have at the top in our country and understand that November is right around the corner and it’s a big moment for us as Americans. If we continue to talk about, ‘We want better, we want change,’ we have an opportunity to do that. But the game will go on without his eyes on it. I can sit here and speak for all of us that love the game of basketball: We could care less.”

I don’t have a problem with people voting. I have a problem with the selling of politics as some sort of silver bullet to the cultural, spiritual and family- structure problems afflicting America in general and black people in particular. 

Politics is the sworn enemy of truth. As a Christian and a journalist, I believe the truth is the lone ally of the righteous. I’m leery of all politicians and political people. I’m most leery of politicians and political people who use race as their primary tool to gain political power.

LeBron James is a one-trick political activist. His political magic trick is the left-wing dog whistle affectionately referred to as the race card. James doesn’t know it — he’s too young, too inexperienced and too manipulated —  but his political activism mimics Republican George H. W. Bush’s 1988 political ploy.

President Bush used a black career criminal, Willie Horton, much the same way James, Black Lives Matter and the Democratic Party are using George Floyd, the career criminal who died tragically during an encounter with Minneapolis police. 

In 1986, Horton was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for a 1974 murder in Massachussets. The state’s department of corrections released him on a weekend furlough as part of a controversial rehabilitation program that Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis supported while governor of Massachusetts. Horton did not return to prison from his weekend furlough. He escaped to Maryland, where he raped a woman and pistol-whipped her boyfriend. Horton is now 68 and serving a life sentence at a maximum-security prison.

Bush’s campaign made Willie Horton the star of the 1988 presidential election. The media criticized Bush for playing racial politics and using Horton as a dog whistle to white racist voters.

Bush vs. Dukakis was the first major election cycle that I was eligible to vote. I passed. I found the campaign intentionally divisive and devoid of substance and honesty. 

Little has changed in the 32 years since. 

George Floyd is the star of this election cycle. James and NBA players want to make Breonna Taylor, a black Louisville woman killed in a failed police drug sting, Floyd’s vice presidential running mate. 

It’s all divisive racial politics devoid of truth. 

James is pretending to be a warrior for social justice reform, feigning concern for Floyd, Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and their families. The concern is disingenuous because the real agenda is political power. Floyd, Taylor and Arbery are political pawns who won’t be brought back to life by the election of Joe Biden or any politician.

American police do a very dangerous job in the most heavily-armed country on the planet. It’s inevitable that deadly mistakes will transpire in the execution of police work. The police make those mistakes regardless of the race of the perpetrator. Every year the police kill approximately twice as many white people as black people. Yes, black people are just 13 percent of the American population. But the violent crime rate in black communities causes police to engage with black men more often than other groups. 

None of the above is new information or insight. Racial politics stop us from discussing police brutality in an honest fashion. 

Politics is the enemy of truth. James’ embrace of politics has put me at odds with him. 

I was a LeBron James supporter throughout his initial stint in Cleveland. When public sentiment turned against James and his business associates in the aftermath of his first Cleveland exit, I wrote a long profile story for FOX Sports that elevated the reputation of Maverick Carter, the architect of The Decision. At the time (2011), I was ridiculed for defending Carter. In 2014, when Kobe Bryant mocked James and the Heat for donning hoodies in support of Trayvon Martin, I blasted Bryant and supported James in an ESPN column.  Later that year, when critics argued that James’ pride should prevent him from reuniting with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, I argued the opposite

My consistent criticism of James didn’t take flight until he entered the political arena during the 2016 election cycle. He campaigned for Hillary Clinton and began his public trolling of Donald Trump. 

I’m not a Trump supporter. I do, however, oppose the point of view that Trump is any more or less of a problem for black people than any of the 44 previous presidents. The framing of Trump as an anti-black lunatic is the kind of political ploy that keeps me out of the voting booth. Trump is no more black people’s problem than Willie Horton was white America’s problem. 

In January of 2017, I appeared on Colin Cowherd’s radio program and articulated my concern that LeBron was in the process of jumping the shark politically. Five months later, during the NBA Finals, LeBron claimed that someone spray-painted the n-word on his Brentwood, Calif., mansion. He offered no proof. He bizarrely compared himself to the mother of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old boy brutally slain in Mississippi in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a woman.

Spray paint on a gate that James and his family never personally saw somehow was analogous to the pain of a mother losing her child to murder?

Politics is the sworn enemy of truth.

James has far more in common with Jussie Smollett than Emmett Till’s mother. 

James, Smollett and other black celebrities have replaced the black church as the principal tool used to galvanize black voters. As America has turned secular and young black people have abandoned religion, the black church has lost its ability to control black voters.

Black Twitter is the new black church. 

It’s a horrendous substitute. Like all man-made institutions, the church is flawed. But the church does concern itself with and maintain an allegiance to truth. Ministers associate with other ministers. A corrupt and dishonest minister will occasionally be chastised by one of his peers or a courageous true believer in his congregation.

Does anyone inside The Church of LeBron James question him on anything? 

Does Twitter, the overseer of clickbait, have any regard for truth?

Only Twitter could turn George Floyd into Rosa Parks. A strong black church would not allow it. Someone in the congregation would know the pregnant woman who Floyd robbed at gunpoint. Someone in the congregation would object to elevating Floyd to national hero status.

Floyd did not deserve to die under the knee of Derek Chauvin. Floyd also does not deserve hero worship. He shouldn’t be used as a device to control black voters and demonize white people who disagree with Democrats. 

I didn’t like it when Republicans exploited Willie Horton. The exploitation of George Floyd is just as repulsive. That’s my problem with LeBron James and his woke disciples. Floyd is their political power tool.

If you want Jason Whitlock for your TV or radio show or podcast, contact gary@outkick.com.

Written by Jason Whitlock

Jason Whitlock is a longtime sports writer, TV personality, radio host, podcaster and the newest member of the Outkick family.
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55 Comments

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  1. I enjoy most of your articles, as with anyone there are times when my opinion runs counter to yours. But, the arguments laid out are always rational, coherent and thought provoking even if I disagree with the premise. This one, however, might be my favorite. This is simply a tremendous piece. As we are roughly the same age it really speaks to me. Outstanding!

  2. Have you heard Joe Biden’s latest gem? The Latino community unlike the African American is quite diverse in its thoughts and beliefs, WOW! How much more racist can you get than that. There is nothing worse than this liberal bigotry of “low expectations”. I have seen this often in education , placement into “dummy” math courses etc. The left will always accuse their enemies of what they themselves believe. At least LeBron James used a dog whistle , Joe just used a whistle! Jason ,nice job as always , but you might want to check out Trump’s record regarding issues affecting black Americans. You might become a fan, not the same as the previous 44.

    • Truth be told, the Democrats do not really care about minority groups as much as they say they do. Simply, every two years, and mostly in presidential voting years, they pretend to care about specific groups of people. Take, for instance, Joe Biden’s “Agenda for Women.” Would it not be better to have an agenda for the country?

      I grew tired of the two main political parties, and think having more parties competing for everyone’s vote would be far better than the two worthless choices we have now.

      • Funny story, a few years ago I was having a beer with my good friends Dad who I’ve always looked up to. He’s an Engineer, and top 5 in the world at what he does (Designs industrial plants all over the world) He told me he’s never voted in his life, when I politely questioned him on it he responded “I pay my taxes, I served my country (he saw combat in Vietnam) but I do not vote. Mainly because I’m not going to stand in line to vote for the lesser of two giant assholes”.

        Can’t say that he’s wrong on that, but I still plan to vote. I’d like to see Ted Cruz or Ben Carson on the ticket, but Don beats the daylights out of any Democrats.

  3. Well said Mr. Whitlock! I saw an article on The Daily Wire yesterday that said 4 out of 5 Black Americans do NOT favor defunding the police. What that says to me is the noisy minority are grabbing the headlines, but the overwhelming majority of black Americans appreciate the job our LEO’s do for them. There are wonderful American’s of all races and economic circumstances in this country. And there are a handful of rotten ones as well.

    On a side note, as a white man I love visiting Black American churches, I will be visiting one near my house soon as the restrictions are lifted. Coming together to worship God is the great unifier, not Lebron James, Trump, or Biden.

  4. Another column that didn’t disappoint, glad I finally joined yesterday. As much as I enjoyed your work on SFY, but writing is your gift. Enough of why everyone digs you on here – great points, hadn’t considered the Willie Horton analogy, but it has me thinking. As for LJ, no different than so many young people too inexperienced to consider a nuanced opinion. Facts tend to get in the way of narratives. Thanks for the article, can’t wait until we’re back to just arguing about sports stuff… like why you could still probably justify Jeff George being in the league. Haha!

  5. Jason, great column!……..Black children are murdered and Lebron calls to defund the police. A black retired cop (David Dorn) is murdered in riots and Lebron calls the protests peaceful. The BLM movement burns bibles and Lebron kneels before the altar of purple haired white kids………Meanwhile, a white man names Tony Timpa can be kneeled on for over 10 minutes, and then, after he is killed, the cops can crack jokes as Tony’s limp head rolls back and forth when they put him on a stretcher. There were crickets after Tony’s death. (And yes, this is all on video which mostly corrupt media refuse to acknowledge) ……..The creepy Marxist lefties want to control these athletes. The liberal elites in media and academia want to “tear down” and rebuild the country before future generations (children of today’s athletes and entertainers) take away power from the liberal elites. The liberal elites don’t want these athletes to realize that the athletes don’t need racist liberals who create policies which hurt minorities (Clinton’s “three strikes” bill, for example). ……..Politics are dirty, and Lebron is being manipulated BIG TIME. Liberal elites want a race war and Lebron, rather than thinking of the future of his children, is a pawn in a dangerous liberal ploy. ……….(And Jason, thank you so much for being a continued voice of truth)

  6. I’m not a huge fan of Trump’s either but the irony is, if someone like LeBron actually had some real goals, and wanted to talk about it with Trump, he’d probably meet with him and work on getting things done. Just like he did with countless other black initiatives. He likes feeling needed and liked, a side effect of his huge ego. But LeBron is not interested in actual change, he just wants to hate on a country that will soon, if not already, make him a billionaire. A blessed capitalist hating on the country that him a super successful one.

    He is the AOC of athletes, one of the most ignorant ones I have seen. Contrast him with Kareem, who, while don’t always agree with him on some issues, is extremely intelligent and knowledgeable and fights against hate, no matter who is the target or culprit.

    I have always respected MJ for his Republicans buy sneakers too. It’s honest.

  7. Like Jason, I too was a LeBron guy. I watched him single handedly take the Cavs to the NBA finals like Allen Iverson once did with the 76’ers. In fact, had LeBron just stuck with basketball, his ‘One Man Show’ in Cleveland was worthy of hall of fame.

    I took a lot of heat for defending him. He ended my support in 2015 when he first attacked Trump and conservatives like me.

    Now I can’t stand to watch him play. I see hatred in his eyes toward me and my beliefs. I wish I was 6-8 inches taller and I would have dunked in his face, if I could.

    I don’t agree that Willie Horton was used in the same way as George Floyd. George Floyd is Travon Martin and Michael Brown. In a couple years, the LeBron Mob will find a new victim to broadcast and riot over. It won’t stop until minorities stop supporting democrats.

    I see major $billionares celebs like Oprah, Michael Jordan, LBJ and Tiger Woods and Dr Dre and Ice Cube all saying the same things; that they Can Do It, but others like them cannot. It’s a sad message.

    My father had a middle eastern dark complexion. He told me that he experienced racism and discrimination through this life in America (and in Syria, which is Muslim).

    That same 5’ 6” tall Armenian man built a Water Park in Greensboro, NC, an FBI building in DC, a Navy Submarine testing facility In NoVa, Residential houses, highways and Roads, nursing homes and more in his short 69 years of life. Sarkis would never say, ‘I Did It and You Can’t’.

    He was the ultimate optimist until he died.

  8. While Lebron continues to call out Trump, Biden slides by with recent classics such as:

    “…if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
    “”What you all know but most people don’t know, unlike the African American community with notable exceptions the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community with incredibly different attitudes about different things.”

    Lebron doesn’t care about Biden’s indifference toward the black community, just as he doesn’t care about progress made under Trump. Lebron cares about Lebron. He’s jumping into the conversation here because activism is the only thing he can beat Jordan at. Problem is, Jordan’s silence around politics is still more valuable than Lebron’s voice.

    • Lebron wants to be president. He sees that a political novice like Trump can win, so why not him? Dwayne Johnson can be his VP or Secretary of Defense. The fact that certain Americans feel this kind of nonsense is legitimate, makes me really sad for our country’s future.

  9. The ad was produced by media consultant Larry McCarthy, who had previously worked for Roger Ailes. After clearing the ad with television stations, McCarthy added a mug shot of Horton. The ad was run as an independent expenditure, separate from the Bush campaign, which claimed not to have had any role in its production.

  10. if the ultimate purpose of journalism is to speak truth to power, Jason continues to knock it out of the park – daily.

    Opting out of the political process might not be the ideal course of action. Indeed, the power brokers count on educated people to stay home because they don’t like the choices at the top of the ticket. There are still down ballot races that can be extremely important. Staying home from an election means that you don’t get a say in those races and ballot measures.

    For many city and county level candidates and issues, the total number of voters might only be a few thousand in a population of 1 million. How drastically could a few votes affect a race?

    There are people who are making a sincere effort to block people from voting because the districts within people live are tilted towards one party or the other. We can do better.

  11. Jason – I have read your articles since your Kansas City Star days, keep trying to educate! Hopefully some day all the “talk” stops and individuals find concrete ways to establish positive behavior. The youth of today are being culturally and spiritually corrupted by various entities. #JustTry2day

  12. Jason, politics is a dirty game and far too often devoid of honesty. I’m also not a fan of Trump personally – I do not like his style, his arrogance, his personal morals, etc. But we have a binary choice this fall. It’s not Trump v. Biden, it is “America, yes or no?” If the Socialist/Communist cabal that backs Biden comes to power we are in real trouble. I humbly suggest, Jason, that you hold your nose and vote for Trump. Then let’s find a better candidate in 2024 to run. Kristy Noem? John James? Jason Whitlock?

    • Spot-on for what our choice is in November. I grind my molars over liberal/Democrat/leftist friends who try to frame the Presidential election as a personality contest. It’s not about individuals (although you should have to be mentally competent for the job). It’s about values and the fate of this nation.

  13. Jason, great column, as always!………..One of the lines which stands out to me is: “Spray paint on a gate that James and his family never personally saw somehow was analogous to the pain of a mother losing her child to murder?”………….I am with you in your disbelief that Lebron can equate spray paint which nobody saw to the pain of a mother losing her child. Lebron has been told he’s a “king” since he was 12 years old and he’s completely delusional because of it. It’s no wonder the Marxists can so easily manipulate him.

  14. I’m not following the Willie Horton comparison. I pulled up the Willie Horton political ad from 1988. The ad is about which candidate is tougher on crime, it never mentions race, even though it’s obvious from the photo that Willie Horton is black. People did the same thing in the George Floyd case. Because Floyd was black and the cop was white, it had to be about race. If Ben Carson would have been the candidate for president instead of Bush and he ran the exact same Willie Horton ad, would you still characterize it as a dog whistle for white racists?

    • You’re right, Corbett…and in keeping with their greatest political tradition, they played the race card back then, too. The ad that really clicked against Dukakis was the Republican ad with the revolving door for criminals, not the Willie Horton ad…and it was Dems who actually identified him by name. Lo and behold, the Dems are even worse now, if that’s possible, with many blue states having now eliminated cash bail for criminals. Same revolving door.

  15. Outstanding, again.
    Too bad LBJ doesn’t embrace a cause that he’s actually living, that of black fathers staying present in a nuclear family. He came from the other end of the spectrum and managed to prevail, but he has to know (or can easily learn) the horrible statistics related to broken homes and criminal behavior.
    Instead, he acts out for the Twitter crowd, pushes false narratives, ignores black on black violence and never challenges folks in his “community” to make better choices, even as his virtue is entirely compromised by China and his fealty to it.

  16. Jason, I respect your viewpoint on voting. I hope one day there is a candidate that comes along worthy of your vote. I would be very interested to know who that is one day, and maybe you have your eye on them right now???

  17. Jason, I just don’t understand. While it is your right not to vote, but your vote make keep one those you rightly criticize out of office. This is especially true in the local arena. Furthermore, as a national voice, you encourage others to do the same by example.

  18. LaPawn, like all the other race hustlers, never offer specifics. It’s all demolition, change, hope, re-imagine, etc. It’s dim-witted emotion-based pandering, all the more galling coming from a multi-millionaire hunkered down inside a walled mansion.

  19. As usual, you nailed it. You always seem to find a fresh way to view an old story. I would, however, like to buy you a couple drinks and see if we can’t do something about raising your Trump support level!! Just joined the VIP program, and enjoying it a lot!! Keep going!

  20. I don’t plan to ever vote. I don’t want people judging me or my point of view based on politics. Criticize me for not meeting Christian standards. I fail in that regard. I want to be judged on a much higher standard than politics. I say that knowing I’m going to fail. But I like shooting for the moon and settling for a cloud or even the basement.

  21. Jason,
    You are very insightful. I enjoy your columns because you do not rage at the sun. You discuss serious issues that are current, and you do so with grace.
    I’m glad you joined forces with Clay. I respect you both. Keep articulating the viewpoint that exposes the flaws of so many ‘woke’ arguments.

  22. Here were Kobe’s comments Whitlock was referring to in the article. Man do I miss everything about Kobe =(.

    “I won’t react to something just because I’m supposed to, because I’m an African-American,” says Bryant in the March 31 issue. “That argument doesn’t make any sense to me. So we want to advance as a society and a culture, but, say, if something happens to an African-American we immediately come to his defense? Yet you want to talk about how far we’ve progressed as a society? Well, we’ve progressed as a society, then don’t jump to somebody’s defense just because they’re African-American. You sit and you listen to the facts just like you would in any other situation, right? So I won’t assert myself.”

  23. Jason out standing column Jason when you point to facts and use truth to back up your columns. Makes it clear that most black player are totally out of touch with history of civil rights movement of the 50&60 .It was lead by Black Christian Man &Woman . I can not believe MLK Rose Parks the Little rock nine would a line the self with BLM a Anti-Christian Anti-family Anti-American communist group ran by rich white people . James is looking for away to push his brand that’s all it is about $$$$$ and fame. After ESPN AIR THE LAST DANCE that end the talk about him being the Goat .Hell I believe he not in the top 5 players Michael Jordan is the Goat then Kobe ,Magic, Brid, Pistol Pete , Karim, Dr.J AN MANY MORE 3 AND 9 IN THE FINALS IS A JOKE

  24. Lebron is the biggest and baddest baller of his generation in a soft era – he is an all-time talent. But Mr. James is failing the past and future NBA by pressing his biased one-note political views on a diverse nation and world.

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