LeBron James Issues Follow-Up Statement After His Comment on Brittney Griner and America Sparked Backlash

LeBron James says he is simply misunderstood. The NBA superstar who dabbles as a social critic was criticized for a comment shown in a trailer for a new episode of his talk show, “The Shop.” In it, James suggested WNBA star Brittney Griner, imprisoned in Russia, might feel abandoned by the United States and not want to return. Griner was arrested on drug smuggling and possession charges in February, a week before Russia invaded Ukraine, prompting a deeper deterioration in relations between Russia and the United States. She pleaded guilty to the charges last week. “Over 110 days,” James said in the trailer. “Now, how can she feel like America has her back? I would be feeling like, ‘Do I even want to go back to America?’” [firefly_embed] [/firefly_embed] But in a follow-up tweet, the Los Angeles Laker said he never intended to slight the nation in which he became a billionaire who makes over $44 million a year for playing basketball. “My comments on ‘The Shop’ regarding Brittney Griner wasn’t knocking our beautiful country,” James tweeted. “I was simply saying how she’s probably feeling emotionally along with so many other emotions, thoughts, etc inside that cage she’s been in for over 100+ days!” he said. “Long story short #BringHerHome.” The original comments sparked a fierce backlash, with many citing James’ passive stance on human rights abuses in communist China. Some were not appeased by his effort to stem the flow of criticism. Phoenix Mercury coach Vanessa Nygaard said America has not done all it should have to pry Griner from Russia’s grip, according to ESPN. She said it all comes down to race, gender and sexual orientation. “If it was LeBron, he’d be home, right?” Nygaard said. “It’s a statement about the value of women. It’s a statement about the value of a black person. It’s a statement about the value of a gay person. All of those things. We know it, and so that’s what hurts a little more.” Griner recently wrote to President Joe Biden, telling him she voted for him and she hoped he would free her from Russia, according to The Washington Post. “I realize you are dealing with so much, but please don’t forget about me and the other American Detainees,” she wrote. “Please do all you can to bring us home. I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you. I believe in you. I still have so much good to do with my freedom that you can help restore. … I am grateful for whatever you can do at this moment to get me home.” The Biden administration has said repeatedly that it is trying to secure Griner’s release. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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