After a grand jury declined to indict the Cleveland police officers involved in the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, writer and activist Tariq Touré created a Twitter hashtag #NoJusticeNoLebron, calling on LeBron James to draw attention to the case by sitting out the games.
The online campaign soon gained momentum as activists attempted to pressure the athlete to stop playing until Rice gets justice.
After a couple of days of complete silence, James finally spoke up about the issue after the Cavaliers beat the Denver Nuggets with 93–87 on Tuesday.
“For me, I’ve always been a guy who’s took pride in knowledge of every situation that I've ever spoke on. And to be honest, I haven’t really been on top of this issue. So it’s hard for me to comment,” the King said, according to ESPN. “I understand that any lives that [are] lost, what we want more than anything is prayer and the best for the family, for anyone. But for me to comment on the situation, I don’t have enough knowledge about it.”
He said it took him time to comment on the issue because he did not know much about the case and was not completely aware of the social media movement.
“I caught a little bit of it from my folks on the side saying that you guys might ask me about it, but I have no knowledge,” James added. “I'm not much of a social media guy. I’m on it, for sure, but I’m not always looking at what’s going on in it.”
Needless to say, his response disappointed many fans.
LeBron is the most influential man in Cleveland. Tamir was killed 400 days ago. Has sons Tamir's age. Basically said it's not his problem.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) December 30, 2015
Looked at the 164 folks @KingJames follows. He might want to add a 165th to keep him abreast of the issues happening in the world. BRUH!!— rolandsmartin (@rolandsmartin) December 30, 2015
The protesters and activists in Cleveland were definitely expecting a much more powerful response from the Cavaliers star, since he has lent his voice to similar issues in the past.
In 2012, he wore a hooded sweatshirt similar to the one Trayvon Martin was wearing when he was controversially shot by George Zimmerman. In addition to that, he also wore a T-shirt with the words “I can’t breathe” in support of Eric Garner, who was killed after a struggle with police last July.
It's astounding that police killing a child, in James' own city, went by unnoticed by the NBA star.