NBA star LeBron James got candid with his thoughts on another professional sports league on Friday, calling out the “old white men” who own NFL teams and blaming their attempts to prevent their players from getting political by requiring them to stand for the national anthem on “slave mentality.”
“In the NFL, they just got a bunch of old, white men owning teams, and they got that slave mentality,” James said on HBO’s “The Shop.” “And it’s like, ‘This is my team. You do what the f**k I tell y’all to do, or we get rid of y’all.'”
After bashing the NFL, the Los Angeles Laker praised NBA Commissioner Adam Silver for supporting basketball players’ political activism.
“I’m so appreciative, in our league, our commissioner,” he continued. “It doesn’t even matter if Adam agrees with what we are saying, he at least wants to hear us out. As long as we are doing it in a very educational, nonviolent way, then he’s absolutely OK with it.”
Watch part of his remarks below:
According, to James, the “difference between the NBA and the NFL” is that “the NBA [cares about] what we believe [a player] can be, the potential.”
“In the NFL, it’s what can you do for me this Sunday or this Monday or this Thursday. And if you ain’t it, we moving on,” he said.
James weighed in as the issue of NFL players kneeling for the national anthem in protest of racism and police brutality in the United States continues to be a national debate. Players who have followed in former San Fransisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s footsteps have come under fire from the president.
Ahead of the current season, the league instituted a rule requiring players and team personnel to stand for the national anthem or remain in the locker room. Following complains from players, the NFL suspended the rule. In the meantime, the league has disappointed fans who want to see the flag and anthem respected with its lack of action on kneeling players.