Before LeBron James concluded his postgame press conference Wednesday night, he had a question for the media. James wondered why he was asked about Kyrie Irving’s antisemitism controversy, but not the controversial Jerry Jones photo from 1957.
The Washington Post recently unearthed a photo of a 15-year-old Jones among a group of young white men preventing Black students from integrating an Arkansas high school. Jones has been widely condemned for the disturbing photo, but the Dallas Cowboys owner has also received some support, with defenders citing the fact that the incident occurred 65 years ago. To Jones’ credit, he answered questions about the photo and the desegregation protest when asked by The Post, but LeBron James seems bothered that he similarly hasn’t been asked about the incident.
“I was wondering why I haven’t gotten a question from you guys about the Jerry Jones photo,” James asked at the end of his postgame presser. “But when the Kyrie thing was going on, you guys were quick to ask us questions about that. Okay, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on,” James continued as a reporter attempted to interject. “I don’t even want you guys to say anything.
“When I watched Kyrie talk, and he says, ‘I know who I am,’ but I want to keep the same energy when we’re talking about my people and the things that we’ve been through. And that Jerry Jones photo is one of those moments that our people, Black people, have been through in America. And I feel like, as a Black man, as a Black athlete, as someone with power and a platform. When we do something wrong or something that people don’t agree with, it’s on every single tabloid, every single news coverage, it’s on the bottom ticker, it’s asked about every single day. But it seems like to me that the whole Jerry Jones situation photo, and I know it was years and years ago, and we all make mistakes. I get it. But it seems like it’s just been buried under like, oh, it happened. Okay. We just we just move on. And I was just kind of disappointed that I haven’t received that question from you guys.”
James criticized Irving for sharing “hurtful information” when asked about the controversy last month, but he also condemned the Brooklyn Nets for handing out an “excessive” suspension after his former teammate apologized. But if Irving played a sport other than basketball, James probably wouldn’t have been asked to comment on the antisemitic controversy at all.
James was asked about Irving because they’re friends, NBA colleagues, and former teammates. James was not asked about Jerry Jones because they don’t exist in the same league. Even though the Los Angeles Lakers superstar used to be a Dallas Cowboys fan, that fact shouldn’t require reporters to ask him about Jerry Jones. James is more than able to offer a comment on Jones, as he did Wednesday night. And people will certainly take note of what he has to say because of the global influence he carries, but it’s not the media’s responsibility to question James about an NFL owner.