The NBA has chosen to look the other way after the league’s poster child Lebron James violated COVID-19 health and safety protocol to promote a tequila brand he is invested in.
James recently attended a promotional event for Lobos 1707 tequila, which was also attended by actor Michael B. Jordan and Drake. The event was held just prior to the Lakers’ game against the Golden State Warriors where the Lakers clinched a playoff spot.
“It’s a violation of the agreed upon protocols, and, as we have in other comparable instances around the league, it has been addressed with the team,” a league spokesman told ESPN.
According to NBA rules, players who are found non-compliant with COVID-19 restrictions will be subjected to escalating fines, warnings, or suspensions.
In a statement issued by NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass, he said that the league had consulted with medical experts and “it was determined that his attendance did not create risks related to the spread of COVID-19 and therefore no quarantine was necessary.”
He added that NBA rules allow vaccinated players to engage in outdoor activities including participating in commercial arrangements like advertisement shots and sponsor appearances.
In a virtual interview with Yahoo Sports, former NBA star and analyst on Inside the NBA, Charles Barkley, said that the league “ain’t got no chance of suspending Lebron James.”
“If it was a nobody, they would put him in health and safety protocols…Ain’t no [expletive] way LeBron James is going to be sitting out because of health and safety protocols,” he said.
When James was recently asked by a reporter whether he has taken a COVID-19 vaccine, the star was ambiguous and cryptic, replying only with, “Uh… it’s not… It’s not a big deal.”
In April, James faced widespread criticism after he tweeting the picture of a police officer who used lethal force against 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, who had a knife in hand and was about to stab a young woman. James posted the picture with a statement “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY.”
After netizens criticized him, LeBron deleted the tweet, covering his tracks saying he deleted his words because it was “being used to create more hate.”
Twitter did not take any action against James for endangering the life of the police officer. The company said that they were unable to evaluate his tweet as it had “been deleted” and “no longer exist in our service,” according to the Washington Examiner.
“He’s worth in excess of $500 MILLION courtesy of our economic system, our so-called ‘racist’ society, and some talent playing a GAME. Yet LeBron James, is free to THREATEN an officer of the law. He should be arrested, not excused,” the Arizona Republican Party tweeted in response.
Donald Trump called LeBron’s statements “racist” and “divisive, nasty, insulting, and demeaning,” and asked him to “focus on basketball,” The Hill reported.
Idaho police officer Nate Silvester trolled James in a TikTok video where he pretended to call LeBron to ask for permission to intervene in a knife attack.
Silvester was suspended by the police department, reinstated, and then later terminated for speaking out.
The China connection
Fox News contributor Rachel Campos-Duffy asked LeBron to “try speaking this tough to your genocidal Communist masters in China,” in a tweet. This was related to an incident that happened back in 2019.
Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey had tweeted in support of Hong Kong’s anti-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and pro-democracy movement, which attracted backlash from the regime. LeBron pandered public opinion in an effort to protect Beijing’s interest by saying that Morey was not “educated on the situation at hand,” ESPN reported.
“And so many people could have been harmed not only financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually. So just be careful what we tweet and say and we do, even though, yes, we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that, too,” James said, defending the regime’s actions in Hong Kong.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx) accused LeBron of “kissing up to Chinese communists and tyrants.” He said that LeBron needs to learn about Tibet, Falun Gong, and the “horrific” human rights abuses and torture that occur in China.
In October of 2019, Fox Business published an article that exposed LeBron’s financial interests in China. He has a $1 billion lifetime deal with Nike; the company earned over $6 billion in revenues from the communist nation during the 2019 fiscal year.
LeBron is also starring in the movie Space Jam 2 which is expected to do well with Chinese audiences. The movie is scheduled to release in the U.S. on July 16.