Before I get started, whatever controversy came out of the trailer for Friday’s episode of The Shop is proof of how disingenuous and dumb Americans can be. First, it’s a trailer. No one has any context of what LeBron James said about Brittney Griner, or the actual full statement except the people in the room and whoever edited the episode.
Second, what he said was insightful. “How can she feel like America has her back?” James said in the trailer. “I would be feeling like, ‘do I even wanna go back to America?’”
He clarified his statements later, though what he tweeted out is almost exactly what he said in the trailer just longer and prefaced with “our beautiful country” — necessary when you’re Black, a billionaire, and want to keep making boatloads of money in this country.
Now onto the artist formerly known as Enes Kanter. He was not happy with what James — who he loves to attack for an attempt at clout — said, and went after him on Twitter. Freedom quote tweeted James, and told him he’s free to leave or exchange himself for her. “Some people literally have NO idea what it is like to live in a dictatorship.”
Freedom, you know who now knows what it’s like to live in a dictatorship? Griner. That’s why James said what he said. She is, as declared by the United States government, “wrongfully detained.” Her American rights have been stripped from her by an authoritarian government, and there is nothing that she can do about it. She recently plead guilty to a crime that she may or may not have committed. That crime is her having a vape cartridge in her bag, and that could result in 10 years in prison in a country that is a dictatorship.
Perhaps instead of pouncing on every opportunity to criticize James, you, upper case Freedom, should be more concerned with helping her get back to her lower case freedom, which you appreciate so much.
While I’m at it, didn’t this country help you out in a similar situation? That’s right your native country, Turkey, revoked your passport for speaking out against their dictator and you were stuck overseas with no way back to America. I believe it was the American government that intervened to help get you back stateside. I’m sure it was a stressful situation because I truly shudder to think what would have happened had the Turkish government gotten its hands on you. That would have been tragic.
But this country, that you were not a citizen of at the time, nor a native of, intervened provided safe passage to America, away from a dictatorship. Griner, born in Houston, has been detained by an authoritarian government for more than 100 days. Neither James, nor you, nor I know, know exactly what is going through her mind right now. All we know is that we would not want to be her, and all three of us should be concerned about her well-being. We shouldn’t be telling someone to leave a country who has a constitutional right to speak out against it if he so chooses. That’s what being here is all about.
I’m sure that the situation that Freedom went through is part of why he loves America so much — it saved his life. But having immense gratitude doesn’t mean one American gets to tell another American how to be one.
Yes, there are many reasons that it’s great to be an American, and one of those is you can speak out against the government without being jailed, executed, or punished in any way. Part of appreciating those rights is to use them, which James was hardly doing in that situation. He was mostly trying to empathize with someone in a horrific situation.
That’s probably what you should be doing with your freedom, Freedom. If you love it so much, focus on returning an American, who is being dealt with cruelly by an authoritarian government just like you were, back to her rights.