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Flashback: LeBron urged caution when tweeting against China: ‘So many people could have been harmed’

Mary Margaret Olohan, DCNF

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James formerly urged caution in tweeting against China, warning that “so many people could have been harmed” by tweets supporting pro-democracy protests.

James tweeted, then deleted, a picture Wednesday of Officer Nicholas Reardon, an Ohio police officer who shot 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant as she attempted to stab another girl, body cam footage showed.

“YOU’RE NEXT,” James tweeted to his millions of followers with the hashtag #ACCOUNTABILITY. He has since deleted the tweet. Twitter has not returned requests for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation as to whether the tweet violated Twitter’s terms of service related to harassment.

In October 2019, James criticized Houston Rockets general manager Dayl Morey for tweeting support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, igniting a firestorm for the NBA. All of the NBA’s official partner companies in China suspended their relationships with the league and China stopped airing NBA games. It was not until October 2020 that the country began airing NBA games again.

“I think when we all sit back and learn from the situation that happened, understand that what you could tweet or could say (could affect people),” James said in October 2019 regarding Morey’s comments. “We all talk about this freedom of speech. Yes, we all do have freedom of speech, but at times there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you’re not thinking about others, and you’re only thinking about yourself.”

He continued: “I don’t want to get into a word or sentence feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand, and he spoke, and so many people could have been harmed, not only financially, but physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. So just be careful what we tweet and what we say, and what we do. Even though yes, we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that too.”

James has also said earlier this year that he puts large amounts of research into his public comments as he is aware of how much power his platform gives him.

“I speak from a very educated mind. I’m kind of the wrong guy to actually go at because I do my homework,” he said.

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