Two of the biggest stories right now are centered around individuals-Lebron James and the Parkland shooting survivors-speaking out about issues they are passionate about and then subsequently being told they have no credibility to discuss said issue.
In a lengthy Bleacher Report car interview with ESPN’s Cari Champion, NBA superstars Lebron James and Kevin Durant opined that President Donald Trump didn’t understand or give a (insert expletive) about the American people. They discussed at length how he had dishonored the office of the president. Subsequently, Fox News and syndicated talk radio host Laura Ingraham gave a monologue in which she advised the stars to “shut up and dribble.” Cue the Twitter fights.
While some have suggested that Ingraham’s remarks had racial undertones, Jason Whitlock and others pointed out that she previously written a book exploring a similar theme called “Shut Up and Sing: How Elites from Hollywood, Politics, and the Media are Subverting America” over a decade ago. Clearly, this isn’t the first time that she expressed these thoughts and Lebron and KD’s skin color have nothing to do with her statements. I believe that her statements are little more than red meat (i.e. ratings) for her audience most of whom are Trump supporters. She clearly believes what she is saying but she has no more right (more credibility perhaps) to speak than the players do on this topic.
They were asked their opinion about a variety of issues and gave them. They are entitled to their thoughts about the president or anyone else. James campaigned for Hillary Clinton so his statements come as no surprise. He has also been very vocal on social media about his views for years. As my high school principal often counseled when a student was angry about what another student said “Consider the source.”
*I do applaud James for putting his considerable salary where his mouth is and giving millions to improve his community and provide educational opportunities for children.
I don’t get my political advice from a basketball player nor do I get it exclusively from a Fox News anchor. The American people probably wish that politics didn’t spill over into sports, entertainment, and nearly every other facet of our lives but that is not the case. Repeated calls for those who disagree with us to be silent are unproductive.
On the topic of the Parkland shooting survivors, commentators speculating about coaching by liberal groups would do well to offer proof before making allegations. Are the students being used by the media and their progressive allies to push the gun control agenda? Yes but they just survived a traumatic event that no one should ever have to go through. They saw their classmates die in front of them and are contemplating their own mortality and shattered sense of safety. They are dealing with the stages of grief which has turned into a palpable rage that is being directed at the enemy of the moment whether that be the GOP, NRA, or lawmakers in general.
Both sides-gun control advocates and Second Amendment supporters-should leave the kids and their motives out of the discussion. While tragedies have long been a catalyst for change and legislative action, laws should not be based or passed based on raw emotion alone.
Whether the opinions come from celebrated athletes or shell shocked high schoolers, the first thing that conservatives should do is to “Consider the source” before offering a hot take or sharing a meme.