Blog Entry

LeBron says race played a part in backlash

Posted on: September 30, 2010 10:23 am
Edited on: September 30, 2010 1:05 pm
Posted by Royce Young

In an appearance on Wednesday night's edition of "Primetime" on CNN , LeBron James replied that he thought race was a factor in the negative response to his decision to leave Cleveland for the Miami Heat .

"I think so, at times," he told CNN correspondent Soledad O'Brien. "It's always, you know, a race factor."

Some are likely rolling their eyes, but in a way, the statistics back it up.

Q Score is a poll that measures popularity and LeBron dropped (or jumped, depending on how you look at it) to No. 6 on the list. But among non-blacks, James' negative Q rating went from 24 percent to 44 after his free-agency announcement. However, among blacks, his negative Q Score slipped just from 14 percent to 15 percent.

That seems like something.

LeBron's adviser and marketing guru Maverick Carter was also part of the interview and he agreed about the role of race in the media backlash. "It definitely played a role in some of the stuff coming out of the media, things that were written for sure," Carter said.

I don't really know how to touch this topic so I'll kind of stay away and let you decide yourself on it. But as to why one color of people reacted differently to LeBron's decision than the other, I don't know. I don't even want to really take a guess as to why.

One thing that does stick out is that James just said race played a factor and then left it at that. He didn't elaborate. He didn't fill us in. He just whipped out that big shiny race card, dropped it on the table and walked away. And as a result, the door was left wide open for people to criticize, speculate and question his use of it. 

As for "The Decision" itself, James said that was his and the people around him's idea. But Carter admitted it wasn't perfect.

"The execution could have been a little better and I take some of the blame for that."

He also said something else I found interesting about LeBron's marketing approach: "It's just about control and not doing it the way it's always been done or not looking the way that it always looks."

Well evidently it's about control. A one-hour special where you control your own message and deliver it exactly how you want? Yep, that's pretty controlling. And that was a big part of the backlash over it.

But it was noted in the report that over $3 million was raised for the Boys and Girls Club of America from "The Decision." That's a good thing that's been largely ignored from that night. That's not going to save LeBron's popularity score, but still, a good thing.

Since: Jan 15, 2008
Posted on: September 30, 2010 6:20 pm

LeBron says race played a part in backlash


Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: September 30, 2010 6:19 pm

LeBron says race played a part in backlash

I have a stat for LeBron:

95% of the people that buy NBA tickets (that pay his salary) are WHITE.

LeBron should stick to things he understands, like Baseketball, and doing what HE wants to do...about 99% of fans couldn't give a rats patoot about wht LeBron James says or thinks, particulary when it involves rehashing his "decisions" off the court.

Racism exists in this country, largely because there are too many people (the media included) that make a living out of insuring it exists, even if they have to fabricate some. Unfortunately, racism has become a crutch for minorities to avoid accountabilityy for their own decisions.

Since: Nov 6, 2006
Posted on: September 30, 2010 6:17 pm

LeBron says race played a part in backlash

I am so sick of people dropping the race card whenever they make a mistake...

Let's be honest...

  • Lebron had his mind made up long before he announced it.
  • He did it in very poor fashion by going on TV for an hour long spectacle.
  • He threw it in all the fans who supported him over the year's faces by doing it that way.

There was no race issue.. he just acted like a dumbass and pissed everyone off.

Now he has to live with it... he should contact Kanye for advice.

Since: Oct 9, 2007
Posted on: September 30, 2010 6:16 pm

LeBron says race played a part in backlash

I'm curious what the race percentage is of whites and blacks that have Lebron Jerseys? I'd say more whites own his jerseys but you won't hear that report.

Since: Jan 5, 2007
Posted on: September 30, 2010 6:16 pm

LeBron says race played a part in backlash

I'm white and I still like LeBron

Since: Sep 23, 2009
Posted on: September 30, 2010 6:10 pm

LeBron says race played a part in backlash

I guess those stats technically do show a difference in opinion among whites and non-whites but the funny thing is, in this situation, it seems that whites are actually being more "reasonable" and "unbias", in my opinion, while blacks/nonwhites are the one's being bias.  For once it seems the difference is created by the bias of non-whites. 

Lebron was/did one of biggest d.ouche bag moves of all times in sports and the negative rating only went up 1% among Blacks?!?  Seriously?  No, we (I'm half black and asian, two minorities), decided to let it slide a little because "people are always trying to bring down a successful black man".  But i'm sorry.  The same way my likable rating went down for Micheal Vick (I grew up in the same town and went to the same college as Vick), it went down for LBJ when he became an even bigger d.ick.  I'm not giving him a pass because "hes black like me".

P.S.  Seriously my fellow African Americans, 1% increase?!?!?!?!?!?!

Since: Oct 4, 2008
Posted on: September 30, 2010 6:09 pm

LeBron says race played a part in backlash

I din't understand this when I heard this. Seems like about 3/4 of the players in the NBA are black. NBA fans are used to seeing ten guys running up and down the court with 7 or 8 of them being black guys almost every time. Why is this a race issue if the other black players are not having this problem? Seems like more like a combination of his fame and behavior to me. I don't see most fans of the NBA having a problem with his skin color when they are buying tickets to see main all black guys play the game. 

Since: Jan 2, 2007
Posted on: September 30, 2010 6:08 pm

LeBron says race played a part in backlash

While it is popular to label every adverse circumstance experienced by black Americans as race based, how about the flip side of the authors' argument? Maybe it's racism in that black Americans side with Lebron on the issue just because he's black.  It shouldn't be surprising that as a general rule black Americans are more sympathetic to other black Americans than are non-black Americans toward black Americans. That cuts both ways as non-blacks are generally more sympathetic to those of their own ethnic identity. To a certain degree, maybe everyone is racist to some extent. And, maybe that's part of the human experience. Rather than focus on trite issues that don't really matter in the large scheme of things, maybe our focus should be on recognizing differences and working together to make this planet a better place to live.

Since: Jan 29, 2008
Posted on: September 30, 2010 6:06 pm

LeBron says race played a part in backlash

Why is the race card brought out the majority of times in everything? I love to watch LeBron play hoops, but his "Decision" show was in bad taste, IMO.


If Larry Bird would have done this to the Celtics I would have felt exactly the same way. There's right ways and wrong ways to do things and IMO the way LeBron handled leaving Cleveland was wrong.

I'm a Cincinnati Reds fan and have been since my days of growing up 50 miles from the Queen City. I can tell you this firsthand, anytime a Reds player leaves the team I don't root for them anymore. Also, another baseball example is Joe Mauer a born-Minnesto player who signed to stay with his home team and he could have gotten more money leaving.


All that being said, this is America and LeBron had every right to pursue his career somewhere else as he fulfilled his obligation to Cleveland. His popularity took a hit for the way he handled leaving, not the actual fact that he left or because of his race.

Since: Sep 26, 2008
Posted on: September 30, 2010 6:05 pm

LeBron says race played a part in backlash

Simple - If people loved him before he left, race had nothing to do with it.  If they hate him now, race had nothing to do with it.  I'm pretty sure KKK members aren't watching the NBA during their meetings.  Why do people always turn everything into a race thing.

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