On a recent episode of Fox Sports 1’s “Speak For Yourself,” Jason Whitlock, one of the most prominent and highly acclaimed sportswriters in America, weighed in on the continuing media firestorm around the war of words between NBA superstar LeBron James and Fox News host Laura Ingraham.
While Whitlock applauded both Ingraham and James for leveraging the opportunity of the feud to help each of their brands, it was LeBron’s decision to compare himself to Muhammad Ali and Martin Luther King Jr. that earned Whitlock’s ire.
“[LeBron James] compared himself to Muhammad Ali and Martin Luther King Jr.,” Whitlock said. “Do you understand Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, these guys went and met their critics head-on, had their thoughts challenged, sharpened, defeated many people in public debates. LeBron is not doing any of that. He’s not being challenged.”
Doubling-down on his crisicism of James, Whitlock went on to cut a special promo video for “Speak For Yourself” in which he delivered a similar monolog on the subject, this time singling out the mainstream media’s role in the situaiton.
“The news media have ignored this comparison, because it’s much easier, safer, and clickable to explore James’ feud with a television personality, Laura Ingraham, he’d never heard of,” Whitlock began.
“I’m not going to ignore the comparison – it’s laughable, it’s foolish,” Whitlock continued. “It cheapens the boldness and the courage it takes to truly compete in the marketplace of intellectual ideas.”
“LeBron James is well-intentioned, but if he truly wants to be a powerful voice on social issues, he needs to have his ideas sharpened by competing in the marketplace of ideas,” Whitlock said. “Or he can remain blind to the simple things he clearly doesn’t know.”
— Speak For Yourself (@SFY) February 20, 2018
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time LeBron James has compared a current athlete with Martin Luther King and Muhammad Ali.
Back in November 2017, James compared unemployed back-up quarterback Colin Kaepernick to King and Ali.
“I’ve commended [Kaepernick], and for him to sacrifice everything for the greater good for everyone, for what he truly believed in, the utmost respect to him,” James told ESPN. “Obviously he had a vision like Martin Luther King and like some of our all-time greats that people couldn’t see further than what they were doing at the point and time. And Muhammad Ali and things of that nature. When it’s something that’s new and it’s something that people are not educated about or don’t understand what your beliefs are all about, people are so quick to judge, and people are so quick to say that what you’re doing is wrong.”