Amnon Jakony (Jay Arts Holdings)
The owner of an Ohio bar announced last week that he would immediately stop showing NBA games inside his establishment until NBA superstar LeBron James is “expelled” from basketball.
What is the background?
James incited controversy last week when he tweeted, and then deleted, a picture of a Columbus police officer involved in the incident that resulted in the death of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant.
“YOUR’E NEXT #accountability,” James said.
The basketball legend faced immediate backlash for suggesting police were wrong to defend the girl involved in the altercation with Bryant. Multiple video angles of the scuffle have surfaced showing the girl likely would have become a stabbing victim had police not acted. Video shows that Bryant was armed with a knife when she was shot by police.
What did the bar owner say?
Jay Linneman, owner of Linnie’s Pub in Delhi Township, said NBA basketball games are banned from his bar until James is banned from playing basketball.
“If anyone wants to watch an NBA game, don’t come to Linnie’s Pub,” Linneman wrote on Facebook last Wednesday. “We will not air them until Lebron James has been expelled from the NBA.”
In an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer, Linneman expressed displeasure with athletes who use their platforms to advocate for issues that are important to them.
“They just need to play the game and that’s it,” Linneman told the newspaper. “Their opinion doesn’t really matter. They’re using their position to push their opinions, and that’s just not right.”
The bar owner also claimed that high-ranking government officials would have faced severe repercussions if they made a statement similar to the one that James made.
Reaction to Linneman was mixed. Many people praised his decision, while others claimed Linneman was “racist. Still, others commented on Linneman’s Facebook page that he needed to “shut up and pour,” employing the same justification that Linneman used against James.
“Y’all want LeBron to shut up and dribble well how about you shut up and pour!” one person said.
“Thank you! This has nothing to do with race….it has to do with facts and Lebron should never have said what he said. That police office is a hero. He saved a young girls life!” another person responded.
How did James respond?
In a response on Saturday, James mocked the bar.
“Aww Damn! I was headed there to watch our game tonight and have a drink! Welp,” he wrote on Twitter.
Aww Damn! I was headed there to watch our game tonight and have a drink! Welp. 🥴 https://t.co/RRfRksjckM
— LeBron James (@LeBron James)1619287551.0