Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James took aim at the NFL on Friday night, ripping league owners during an episode of “The Shop” on HBO, likening them to pre-Civil War slave owners.
As part of his wild and, at times, angry rant, James used New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley as examples of what make the football world go around.
“In the NFL they got a bunch of old white men owning teams and they got that slave mentality,” James said. “And it’s like, ‘This is my team. You do what the I tell y’all to do. Or we get rid of y’all.’
“The players are who make the ship go. We make it go. Every Sunday, without Todd Gurley and without Odell Beckham Jr., without those players, those guys, there is no football. And it’s the same in the NBA.”
James continued by suggesting the NBA cares more about its players than the NFL does about theirs.
“The difference between the NBA and the NFL, the NBA is what we believe he can be. The potential,” James said. “In the NFL, it’s like what can you do for me this Sunday, or this Monday or this Thursday, and if you ain’t it, we moving on.”
The NFL, like the NBA, is a business after all. And similarly, if someone isn’t getting the job done on the hardwood, they get the boot just the same as a football player not getting the job done. But because of the recent national anthem controversy, perception of each league has changed.
It is worth noting however, that while the NFL has attempted to address the controversy by implementing rules, none have been set in stone, whereas the NBA has a strict policy that all players must stand for the national anthem during pregame.