Soccer Star Zlatan Ibrahimovic Doubles Down on Call for LeBron James to Stick to Sports
Despite LeBron James’ insistence that he is “more than an athlete,” soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic renewed his call for James to stop talking politics and stick to sports.
Over the weekend, James responded to Ibrahimovic’s initial call for him to “do what you’re good at” and avoid politics, by saying there’s “no way” he would ever just “stick to sports.”
Ibrahimovic, though, was unswayed by James’ retort and reiterated his request for James to focus on the unifying nature of sports and ditch the divisive nature of the world of politics.“Athletes unite the world, politics divide it,” Ibrahimovic said at a Tuesday news conference.“Our role is to unite the world by doing what we do best. Athletes should be athletes and politicians should do politics.”The dustup between the superstars occurred last week when Ibrahimovic criticized James for falling into the trap of using their “status” for politics.
[LeBron] is phenomenal at what he’s doing, but I don’t like when people have some kind of status, they go and do politics at the same time.
Do what you’re good at. Do the category you do. I play football because I’m the best at playing football.
I don’t do politics. If I would be a political politician, I would do politics. That is the first mistake people do when they become famous and they become in a certain status. Stay out of it. Just do what you do best, because it doesn’t look good.
James returned fire by claiming that he is a voice for speaking out for those who are facing injustice:
I would never shut up about things that are wrong.
I preach about my people and I preach about equality, social injustice, racism, systematic voter suppression, things that go on in our community. I know what’s going on still, because I have a group of 300-plus kids at my school that’s going through the same thing, and they need a voice, and I’m their voice. I’ll use my platform to continue to shed light on everything that’s going on around this country and around the world. There’s no way I would ever just stick to sports, because I understand how powerful this platform and my voice is.
Of course, James has indeed “shut up” about things that are wrong when they impact his business dealings. For example, James defended Communist China and harshly criticized then-Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey for defending pro-freedom demonstrators in Hong Kong. Moreover, James has maintained strict silence when it comes to China’s enslavement of their Muslim Uighur population.
So, it seems like James is indeed quite vocal about things that he perceives to be wrong. You know, as long as it doesn’t cost him any money.