Race Complicates the Reaction to LeBron’s Decision

Written by Rizoh. Posted in Culture, Sports

Tagged: , ,

Published on October 01, 2010 with 15 Comments

Did race play a role in the backlash to LeBron James’ “The Decision”? James thinks so, and he has a good reason to believe that. Now, before you start shaking your fists at your screen, take a gander at this recent release of Q Scores, a polling system that measures popularity:

Among non-blacks, James’ negative Q rating went from 24 percent to 44 after his free-agency announcement. However, among blacks, his negative Q Score slipped just from 14 percent to 15 percent. [Sun Sentinel]

The study clearly supports the notion that race was a factor. Personally, I think race may have played a small role, but it’s the things the study didn’t measure that played a bigger role. People hated “The Decision” mainly because it was a narcissistic move. Period. LeBron would’ve drawn some heat (excuse the pun) even if he was white, red, or purple.

Despite losing out on the LeBron sweepstakes, I doubt that Jay-Z will cut James off like a light switch. On the other hand, there are those in the black community who despise LeBron for his decision and nothing else. One of the reasons I’m eagerly looking forward to this season’s NBA on TNT is that Charles Barkley has made a hobby out of ripping LeBron since “The Decision.” Last I checked, Sir Charles was still a member of the black race.

That said, I have trouble believing that a white athlete of LeBron’s stature would be despised to hell for doing the same exact thing. African-American athletes with inflated egos are easily painted as privileged divas or spoiled brats. Their error margin is smaller than that of their white counterparts. That’s what makes “The Decision” unpopular in the black community. It paints an entire race in a negative light, and that might explain the slight dip in Q Score among African-Americans.

Ultimately, how you perceive these issues will depend partially or entirely on your background and experience. Many whites have a hard time understanding how race can be a factor in the way blacks are treated, unless it’s extremely obvious. Blacks and white apologists, on the other hand, sometimes exaggerate the place of race in these matters. We’re all suspicious of one another in America, thus fueling the racial tension that funnel these issues.

Dismissing the role of race is just as dangerous as attributing everything under the sun to racism. Sports provide a platform for us to dissect the social paradigm, one way or another. If we take advantage of the opportunities and engage in meaningful discourse, we’ll someday learn to view others through the lens of their own actions instead of the color of their skin. Okay, I’ll get off the podium now.

Syl Johnson, please play us out.



Rizoh is the most powerful man in all the lands. He lives in Houston where he earned a BS in Nerf Herding. He's the founder of The Rap Up, the former editor of Roc4Life.com, and is in the Grammy-awaiting band Pervertable Disciples.

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There are currently 15 Comments on Race Complicates the Reaction to LeBron’s Decision. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

  1. You keep bringing up this point that people hated it because it was narcissistic. As far as my experience goes, people hated it because he made such a big deal about maybe going to so many other teams. In New York especially, the hatred was “YOU TRAITOR, YOU WERE GOING TO JOIN US!” Maybe it’s different in Dallas, buy from everyone I’ve talked to, and that included people in Florida, California, Seattle, and New York, you’re putting to much emphasis on the narcissism. Most people I know think he’s narcissistic, and also don’t give a shit. They do care he picked Miami over other teams though.

    That said you have a point that race is involved.

    • isnt it narcisstic in a sense to flirt wit other teams?

  2. Plain and simply if Brett Farve had done the same thing (and he’s done way worse in my book) people would be praising him for having the desire to win another championship.

    • Brett didn’t need to leave Green Bay to win championships.

      If Brett Farve had left Green Bay, during his prime years on his own without the organization’s bullshit, he would of been hated more than LeBron by fans. People are so quick to look at race as a factor but I think it’s more of a ecological thing. James grew up in Ohio, they celebrated and embraced him as their hero (Their own stupidity) and they felt betrayed by his gaudy decision, especially considering the fans of Cleveland and the ownership had to find out the same time as 10,000,000 people did.

      Come on, you don’t announce that without having the respect to at least tell the team you’re leaving first. So race is involved because more whites dislike LeBron (the athlete) more than blacks? We can’t take into other accounts for the results besides the fact that they’re white or black?

    • Incorrect. Historically, people have lambasted Favre for similar actions, sir.

      • everyone hates brett favre…idk anyone who likes him except espn…they ride him cuz he makes their jobs easy….the general public and local media figures despise the guy…at least up here in boston

      • everyone hates brett favre…idk anyone who likes him except espn…they ride him cuz he makes their jobs easy….the general public and local media figures despise the guy…at least up here in boston

    • Well he did that when he went to the Vikings and more people hate him for it.

  3. you dead on with this one homie.

    • OK that was a cool video,but he needs to stop having his wife cut his hair.I hate to see women or guys with long nails attack the zit with there fignirnaels, it hurts like crap and its not the best way to push the cheese out…..

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  4. Everyone loves Brett Favre and Roger Clemens last time I checked, oh wait no, they’re hated by all parties except for the Nascar element in other sports.

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