- The Washington Times - Friday, June 2, 2017

Jason Whitlock has a lot to say about LeBron James’ comments on being black in America.

The black sports journalist said Thursday that Mr. James made a mountain out of a molehill after the front gate to his Brentwood, California, home was spray-painted with a racial slur.

Mr. James gave a press conference Wednesday night saying the vandalism made him immediately think of the mother of 14-year-old Emmett Till, who was lynched by two white men in Mississippi in 1955.

“The reason she had an open casket was that she wanted to show the world what her son went through as far as a hate crime, and being black in America,” Mr. James said. “No matter how much money you have, no matter how famous you are, no matter how many people admire you, being black in America is tough. We’ve got a long way to go, for us as a society and for us as African Americans, until we feel equal in America.”

Mr. Whitlock called the analogy “foolish.”

“Racism isn’t hurt feelings. Racism has consequences. LeBron’s gate ain’t Emmett Till,” he tweeted to his 258,000 followers.

Mr. Whitlock, who co-hosts Fox Sports’ “Speak For Yourself” with Colin Cowherd, unloaded on the NBA star during the show Thursday.

“I think the analogy to Emmett Till is ridiculous,” he said, CBS Boston first reported. “Emmett Till lost his life brutally in the 1950s over nothing. And to somehow [say] my mind went there because in my $20 million second home in Brentwood, someone spray-painted something that my staff cleaned up within hours and the police investigated I’m sure. It’s not analogous to Emmett Till.

“LeBron to me here is embracing his victimhood,” he continued. “It’s a mistake. What happened to him was disrespectful, but again, this is not the racism that needs to be stamped out in America. This is an inconvenience to LeBron. Someone spray-painting something on a millionaire’s home.”

Mr. Whitlock argued earlier on Mr. Cowherd’s show “The Herd” that Mr. James’ comments on race came from a place of privilege, and that his wealth shields him from the impact of racism.

“He allegedly had the N-word spray-painted on his $20 million Brentwood home. He wasn’t here. His family wasn’t there. He heard about it. He’s on stage, ‘Oh my family’s safe.’ From what? Spray paint? They’re in Cleveland,” he said.

“LeBron has risen above poverty to that special, elevated place in society where pretty much nothing can bother him,” he continued. “Have you ever tried to be a veteran that lost a leg in America? Have you ever been a poor person accused of a crime and forced to go with a public defender in America? Of any color. If you’re poor, regardless of color, you are catching hell.”

Mr. Whitlock’s rants caught backlash on social media, spurring a Twitter spat with Packers tight end Martellus Bennett, CBS reported.

“You had a chance to spark change but you tried to put out the flames spitting that s– out,” Mr. Bennett tweeted.

Mr. Whitlock responded, “Change I’m hoping to spark is a focus on the actual issues impacting poor people, particularly poor black people. Spray paint ain’t it.”

“Too many in position to promote change side step the opportunity,” Mr. Bennett wrote. “If those on top don’t lift others up, they need move their ass away from.”

Mr. Whitlock replied, “Spray-painted slurs is the safe, shallow end of the pool. Go ahead and splash around there. Right depth for you.”

“I don’t splash believe it or not I can actually swim,” Mr. Bennett fired back.

As for Mr. James, the Los Angeles Police Department is still investigating the vandalism to his home and are treating it as a possible hate crime. Neither Mr. James nor his family was at the home at the time of the incident.

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