LeBron James is transitioning from the basketball court into a social activist. He has a new TV show that probably won’t make FOX News television show host Laura Ingraham very happy. The FOX host urged LeBron James and his sports colleagues to shut up and dribble. The LeBron James show is called The Shop and will use a barber shop as a set for free flowing talk. It is a forum for athletes and others to speak their minds and it could finally take down that wall between athletes and the public, particularly the just shut and play crowd and the others who just want to be entertained. James provided his views in the show’s debut and it will not please a certain segment of sports fan society, including a certain man in the Oval Office. That group is upset with National Football League athletes protesting during the playing of the national anthem for what they say is police brutality against African Americans.
Certain African American NBA and NFL players have become 21st century activists, but there have been athlete protests in the past. In the late 1960s, African American athletes supported Muhammad Ali’s decision not to serve in the United States armed forces. Both black and white players protested the continuation of the Jim Crow mentality following the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and boycotted the scheduled American Football League All Star Game in New Orleans in 1965 after black players could not get cab rides from the airport into the city. Two African Americans, John Carlos and Thommie Smith along with a white athlete from Australia Peter Norman staged a protest on the podium during a medal ceremony at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics hoping to turn a spotlight on human rights. All three were tossed from the Olympics. LeBron James doesn’t have to worry about losing it all by speaking his mind.