NBA star LeBron James deleted a Twitter post regarding the fatal police shooting of a 16-year-old Black girl in his home state of Ohio, later explaining he seeks greater accountability.
James, who helped spark the Los Angeles Lakers to last year’s NBA title, removed a Wednesday tweet that showed a photo of the police officer, who is white, with the words “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY.”
Body camera footage released by the Columbus, Ohio, police department showed the girl was swinging a knife at another person before the shots were fired.
After James removed his tweet, he posted more messages to explain the decision.
“I’m so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police,” James posted on Twitter.
“I took the tweet down because it’s being used to create more hate -This isn’t about one officer. it’s about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism. I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY.”
James also said anger was the wrong response to such situations.
“ANGER does any of us any good and that includes myself! Gathering all the facts and educating does though! My anger still is here for what happened to that lil girl. My sympathy for her family and may justice prevail!” he tweeted.
James, among the NBA’s most outspoken leaders on social issues, grew up in Akron, Ohio, about a two-hour drive northeast of Columbus, the state capital.
The Ohio incident came just before a former police officer in Minnesota was found guilty of murder in the death last May of handcuffed Black man George Floyd. His death triggered worldwide protests for social justice.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump issued a statement on Thursday taking issue with James’ comments on police shootings by saying he “should focus on basketball”.
The former US president also took a swipe at the NBA.
“LeBron James should focus on basketball rather than presiding over the destruction of the NBA, which has just recorded the lowest television RATINGS, by far, in the long and distinguished history of the League,” he said.
“His RACIST rants are divisive, nasty, insulting, and demeaning. He may be a great basketball player, but he is doing nothing to bring our Country together!”