Lakers star LeBron James condemned the scenes in Washington, D.C., and shared the feeling that the response by law enforcement could have been far worse had the perpetrators been Black people.
On Wednesday, a large number of violent protesters stormed the U.S. Capitol after descending on the city for a rally held by President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly claimed, without evidence, his reelection loss to Joe Biden was fraudulent.
Five people are confirmed to have died and dozens arrested after appalling scenes at the seat of democracy in the United States on the day the Electoral College certified Biden’s victory, with some individuals able to force access into private offices and take pictures in the chair of Vice President Mike Pence while members of Congress were forced to flee under escort. Tear gas was used in the Capitol Rotunda as part of nonlethal means to disperse the crowd.
Wizards guard Russell Westbrook claimed the outcome would have been “totally different” had the vast majority of aggressors been African-American. Teammate Bradley Beal said that, compared with the police handling of Black Lives Matter protests last year, the response lacked the same “sense of urgency.”
76ers coach Doc Rivers shared that sentiment, saying: “It basically proves the point about a privileged life in a lot of ways. I’ll say it because I don’t think a lot of people want to: Could you imagine today if those were all black people storming the Capitol and what would have happened?”
And James, who had 27 points, six rebounds and 12 assists in the Lakers’ 118-109 loss to the Spurs on Thursday, said the Black community has endured a hard week following the Capitol riots and the news that the police officer who shot and paralyzed Jacob Blake in Wisconsin in August will face no charges.
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“Obviously, the last few days have been very, very tough on anybody in the Black community,” James said. “We got the news in Memphis with the Jacob Blake announcement and the cop being let off and then seeing what happened in our national capital, inside the Capitol.
“We live in two Americas. That was a prime example of that yesterday, and if you don’t understand that or don’t see that after seeing what you saw yesterday, then you really need to take a step back, not even just one step, maybe four or five or even 10 steps backwards.
“Ask yourself: How do you want your kids, or how do you want your grandkids, how do we want America to be viewed as, how do we want to live in this beautiful country? Because yesterday was not it.
“Being part of a household with three kids, two boys, a daughter, a wife, a mother-in-law, so many Black folks in my household during that time and it’s on the TV, couldn’t help but wonder if those were my kind storming the Capitol . . . what would have been the outcome? I think we all know.”
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