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In a post-game press conference on Wednesday after the Los Angeles Lakers took on the New Orleans Pelicans, LeBron James called out a room full of reporters for their double-standards in coverage of Black athletes. “I was wondering why I haven’t gotten a question from you guys about the Jerry Jones photo. But when the Kyrie thing was going on, you guys were quick to ask us questions about that.”
ICYMI, a controversial photo surfaced of Jerry Jones – owner, president and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys – at the scene of the 1957 North Little Rock Arkansas school integration. At the time, 15 year-old Jones was seen standing with a White mob that was forcefully trying to block Black students from attending the high school.
Although Brown v. Board of Education had passed three years earlier, Black students were still met with hostility when trying to attend schools designated for white students. That particular day, they were pushed back down the stairs and into the street.
LeBron James wants the media to keep the same energy
In response to the photo, Jones said, “That was, gosh, 65 years ago and curious kid, I didn’t know at the time the monumental event that was going on. I’m sure glad that we’re a long way from that. I am. That would remind me: Just continue to do everything we can to not have those kind of things happen.” He declined to confirm whether he regretted attending the demonstration.
Jones is credited for helping to transform revenue models for the NFL, but his record on diversity and inclusion is shaky. The Cowboys franchise has faced scrutiny for not hiring one Black head coach in its 63 existence. And, according to NewsOne, “It wasn’t that long ago when Jones was threatening to punish any Cowboys players who kneeled during the playing of the national anthem and participated in the silent protest for racial equality.”
While LeBron wants the media to “keep the same energy” in reporting accusations and incidents of racism and antisemitism, others don’t think the photo is that deep.
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott weighed in saying we need to “give Jerry grace”. “Obviously we can be more empathetic and give grace to one another, regardless of race,” Prescott said. “From the times we’ve come from to where we are now, thinking about the growth we’ve had. That’s who I am, how I think, optimistic. I mean (as) a guy who is completely biracial, Black and White, it’s easy for me to speak on race on one side or another.”
Media personality Stephen A. Smith also believes that Jones deserves grace and added that the scrutiny has been blown out of proportion. “I’m very, very fond of Jerry Jones,” Smith said Friday on his “First Take” show on ESPN. “Is his record perfect? No. But I’m pissed off because he doesn’t deserve what just happened.”