LeBron James More Outraged Over Defense of American Flag Than Death of Democracy


This is the understatement of the decade, but protesting during the national anthem can be a very polarizing topic.

Whether someone is raising a fist, kneeling or sitting during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” that act alone will likely elicit a strong emotion one way or another.

To some, protesting the anthem is an ode to social justice. To others, it is the ultimate form of disrespect to the American flag and the many who have died in its honor.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees clearly falls into the latter category.

“Well I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country,” Brees said when asked about the potential of anthem protests returning to the NFL in the wake of the ongoing protests and riots that have rocked the country.

Hollywood Star's Wife Played Key Role in International Criminal Court's Arrest Warrant for Israeli Leaders

That’s fair! The very same thing that protects anthem protesters, freedom of speech, should also apply to Brees in this instance.

To be clear, Brees made no comment about racial injustice, criminal justice reform, police brutality or any other issue that the ongoing riots are ostensibly about. He merely commented on the specific act of protesting during the national anthem.

Unfortunately, it’s 2020, which means that nothing makes sense anymore. Brees, who has a noted history of being a class act, was verbally assaulted by his fellow athletes.

It did eventually prompt an apology from the star quarterback.

Perhaps the most famous face who took Brees to task was Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James.

“You literally still don’t understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee??” James posted on Twitter, referring to the original anthem protester, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. “Has absolute nothing to do with the disrespect of [the flag] and our soldiers(men and women) who keep our land free.”

To be clear, LeBron James is more than entitled to his take on national anthem protests. That’s not the issue. However, an eyebrow has to be raised when you look at the greater context of James’ rant against Brees.

Must Watch: Bill Maher Defends Chiefs Kicker - Slams Agitators

Looking at timestamps, James’ critique of Brees came roughly four hours after Yahoo had posted the offending video clip. That’s a pretty timely response to someone who has the freedom to express their personal beliefs about the American flag.

You know who’s on the verge of losing their right to freely express their beliefs? The citizens of Hong Kong. That’s pertinent to this tale because the NBA, and James in particular, were recently raked over the coals for being curiously silent about that very subject.

Hong Kong, which has long enjoyed a certain level of democratic autonomy from the rest of communist China thanks to the “one country, two systems” policy, was the center of controversy in recent months after a proposed extradition policy threatened its independence. Currently, there are still many ongoing civil rights issues as China tries to tighten its grip on the city.

Does the American flag mean the same thing to you as it does to Drew Brees?

When protesters in Hong Kong first took to the streets to protest mainland China’s encroachment, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey took to Twitter to voice support for the pro-democracy protesters. The NBA, however, quickly reprimanded Morey, presumably because it was afraid of losing copious amounts of money from the Chinese market.

In a word, it was disgraceful, and the NBA was rightly called out for it. That didn’t stop James, easily the NBA’s most recognizable star, from condemning Morey’s pro-democracy comments.

“We all talk about this freedom of speech, yes, we all do have freedom of speech, but at times there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you’re not thinking about others and you’re only thinking about yourself,” James said in October.

“I don’t want to get into a word, or sentence, feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand, and he spoke.”

“So many people could have been harmed,” James continued. “Not only financially, but physically, emotionally, spiritually. So, just be careful what we tweet, and we say and what we do. Even though, yes, we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that too.”

People are literally losing their freedom, but because it might harm him “financially,” James kowtowed to China in 2019. He’s been relatively mum on the subject since.

But a fellow American dares to use his freedom to speak out in favor of honoring the American flag?

Well, James is apparently OK with people losing that freedom based on his remarks about Hong Kong. Perhaps his feelings on Drew Brees’ freedom of speech shouldn’t be all that surprising.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , , ,
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.
Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, Korean
Topics of Expertise
Sports, Entertainment, Science/Tech