Basketball player LeBron James posted, then deleted, a tweet attempting to single out an officer from the recent police shooting in Columbus, Ohio, in which he tried to rally his supporters to dox and retaliate against the officer in question, as reported by Fox News.
James, who plays on the Los Angeles Lakers, posted a tweet featuring a screenshot from the bodycam footage of the incident, which took place on Tuesday. The footage showed the entirety of the chaotic scene as police arrived to break up a fight between two black teenage girls. One of the girls, 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, was armed with a large knife and was preparing to stab another girl after shoving her up against a car. After multiple verbal warnings from police to drop the knife, the officer wearing the bodycam fired several shots, killing Bryant and saving the other girl’s life.
James posted a screenshot from the video that clearly shows one of the officer’s faces, even though the officer in question was not the one who actually fired the shots. James’ tweet only featured the caption “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY,” with an hourglass emoji symbolizing time running out. The NBA player has nearly 50 million followers on Twitter.
The tweet drew intense and widespread backlash for the attempt at doxxing, with some calling it an incitement to violence. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) posted a tweet declared that the tweet was “inciting violence against an Ohio police officer,” and asked “Is the NBA OK with this? Is Twitter?” Commentator Gad Saad responded to James’ original tweet by asking “imagine if @kingjames used his platform to promote universal humanist values decoupled from tribal racial politics,” and concluded by saying “Mr. James, you have no moral compass.”
James eventually deleted the tweet, posting a follow-up tweet that claimed he only did so “because it’s being used to create more hate.” He added that he was “so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY.”
The shooting of Bryant has already become an entirely new focus point for Black Lives Matter and other far-left groups, declaring it to be another example of so-called “systemic racism” and “police brutality” against African-Americans. But many have either downplayed or even outright omitted the fact that Bryant, as clearly shown in the footage, was wielding a knife and preparing to stab another black girl.