James is not shying away from Jones controversial 1957 photo to media.
The Lakers and LeBron James easily captured their eighth win last night against the Portland Trailblazers, 128-109. James led all scorers with 31 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists.
LeBron spoke with the media after the game, answering questions about the contest itself and his performance.
However, at the end of his press conference, he closed things out by questioning why the media hadn’t asked him about the controversial 1957 photo of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones that leaked last week compared to Kyrie Irving’s antisemitic fiasco.
LeBron appeared to be disappointed and disgusted that he even had to address the media about the situation.
Let’s look into what LeBron was referring to regarding Jerry Jones.
Last week, a photo surfaced online of Jones, on what it appeared to be a teenaged Jones “participating” in blocking the entrance of his North Little Rock High School in September of 1957, with a crowd of similarly malicious white students, as six Black students attempted to desegregate the school.
The media confronted Jones about the picture. The 80-year-old’s remembrance of that day was his fear of getting in trouble with his football coach. Jones specifically remembers that his football coach warned his players not to get involved in the situation as there was sure to be unrest when the new students arrived.
The Cowboys owner attempted to explain the photo and its context.
“I didn’t know at the time the monumental event really that was going on,” Jones said. “I’m sure glad that we’re a long way from that. I am. That would remind me [to] just continue to do everything we can to not have those kinds of things happen.”
From when it surfaced, there hasn’t been any significant backlash towards the NFL icon’s way.
However, when Irving’s antisemitic material was publicized, you couldn’t escape the news. Irving carried a minimum of five-game suspension (his suspension ultimately lasted eight games) without pay as he failed to apologize for his social media post about a book and movie that contained antisemitic tropes. Irving also failed to ‘unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs.”
LeBron was repeatedly asked about Irving’s failure to apologize, and Kyrie received significant backlash from his posts and comments.
This is not defending Kyrie in any way, but the same energy needs to be given to Jones’ direction, and that’s what James was trying to get at.
James acknowledged that everyone makes mistakes, but he was still ‘disappointed’ in the media not asking him the tough questions.
“But it seems like to me that the whole Jerry Jones situation, the photo, and I know it was years and years ago, and we all make mistakes, I get it. It seems like it’s just been buried under, like, ‘Oh, it happened. OK. We just move on.’ And I was just kind of disappointed that I haven’t received that question from you guys.”
It’s fair for James to hold the media accountable for the lack thereof regarding the Jones photo. One reason the media may have been more interested in the Lakers All-Star’s take on Irving is that James has a direct connection with the Nets point guard, as they won a title and went to three straight NBA Finals together as teammates on the Cleveland Cavaliers, whereas James and Jones are not involved in the same sport. Jones did apparently offer James, who played wide receiver in high school, a contract to play for the Cowboys during the 2011 NBA lockout.
Whether Jones is being naive or he truly means what he says, his word about the event (which did happen when he was a child) is all we can go by for now. We may never know his intentions at the time; all we can do is speculate on the situation.
One thing is clear: the Irving and Jones situations are not being treated the same way, at least in James’s estimation. James’ words hold so much weight, and he’s using his voice to hold the media and Jones accountable.