Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James sarcastically mocked the owner of a Cincinnati-based bar after he declared his establishment would not show any NBA games until the NBA champion is “expelled” from the league.
The bar owner’s decision to “cancel” NBA games stemmed from the basketball star’s social media comments on the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant in the hands of an Ohio police officer, USA TODAY reported. In the since-deleted April 21 tweet, James reportedly posted a photo of the officer who allegedly shot Bryant. He captioned the photo, “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY”, and ended the post with an hourglass emoji.
After a section of people – including former president Donald Trump – criticized James over the tweet, he deleted it and later explained why he took that action.
“ANGER [does not do] 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 [sic] that lil girl. My sympathy for her family and may justice prevail!” he tweeted.
In a follow-up post, he added: “I’m so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police. I took the tweet down because its 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’ deleted tweet, however, did not go down well with Jay Linneman, the owner of Linnie’s Pub. In a Facebook post, Linneman declared his bar will no longer show NBA games to patrons until the four-time MVP is reprimanded, USA TODAY reported.
“If anyone wants to watch an NBA game, don’t come to Linnie’s Pub,” Linneman posted. “We will not air them until Lebron James has been expelled from the NBA.”
The bar owner added that athletes should just stick to sports, writing: “They just need to play the game and that’s it. Their opinion doesn’t really matter. They’re using their position to push their opinions, and that’s just not right.”
James got wind of Linneman’s tirade and cheekily responded to his statement in a tweet. “Aww Damn! I was headed there to watch our game tonight and have a drink! Welp,” he posted. The tweet has since gone viral.
Meanwhile, officials in Ohio are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of Bryant. Face2Face Africa will keep you updated as and when events unfold.