This article was originally published on BLAC Detroit Magazine.

Lebron James is one of the best-known athletes in the world.  He has long been in the spotlight and is one of the most talked about athletes. Besides being a great athlete, Lebron uses his platform to speak out on issues we are facing currently in our country. Specifically, Lebron tweets about some of the issues most dear to him to his millions of followers.  Most recently he has been under scrutiny about the Ma’Khia Bryant situation. 

Ma’Khia Bryant was charging at two young women with a knife, when an officer arrived and fatally shot her outside the foster home that she had been living in for about two months. After this incident was released to the public, social media was in a frenzy because it was another unnecessary cop killing. Lebron took to Twitter to voice his opinion on the situation.  In the since-deleted tweet, it showed a photo of a white officer, Nicholas Reardon, with an accompanying caption, “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY.” 

Lebron garnered a lot of attention for this tweet, both good and bad. In fact, O.J. Simpson weighed in on the situation, praising the NBA star for the work he has done for social justice and to fight systemic racism, but added that James needs to “pick his battles,” and should have waited for more information before commenting. Lebron added later, “I’m very tired of seeing blacks killed by police. I deleted the tweet because it’s being used to create more hatred-this is one officer. It’s not about the whole system, they’re always using our words to increase racism. I’m anxious for more accountability.” 

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Athletes using their platform to voice their opinions is an amazing thing, especially because they can engage people all over the world; however, at times, it can cause harm even when not intended. The problems in this country need to be talked about, openly and honestly, and if athletes want to be the driving force behind helping to solve these problems then we need to let them use their platform to do so.  And in doing so, we must ultimately forgive them when they do make a mistake. 

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