LeBron James emphatically rejected talk he is inciting violence against police by speaking out against racial injustice in the United States.
Los Angeles Lakers star James has been a prominent voice in the fight for racial justice, which intensified following the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minnesota in May and the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin last month.
"We are scared as Black people in America."— CNN (@CNN) August 25, 2020
LeBron James calls for justice following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin and encourages people to vote for change in November's election. https://t.co/BJBsC8QW4A pic.twitter.com/CpAp9rmEZF
Following the latter incident, James said: "We are scared as black people in America. Black men, black women, black kids, we are terrified. Because you don't know. You have no idea. You have no idea how that cop that day left the house."
The question of whether James was inciting violence was raised in the wake of the shooting of two police deputies in Compton on September 13.
However, James dismissed talk of him advocating violent actions in a media conference after the Lakers' 114-106 loss to the Denver Nuggets in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.
"I've never in my 35 years ever condoned violence. Never have. But I also know what's right is right and what's wrong is wrong."— ESPN (@espn) September 23, 2020
LeBron explained why he continues speaking out about police brutality: pic.twitter.com/MTz6oGpQXw
He said: "I've never in my 35 years ever condoned violence, never have, but I also know what's right is right and what's wrong is wrong and I grew up in the inner city in a black community.
"I've seen a lot of counts first hand of a lot of black people being racially profiled because of our colour.
"I've seen it my whole life, I'm not saying that all cops are bad because throughout high school and things of that nature I'm around them all the time and they're not all bad.
"When you see the videos that's going on, not only my hometown but all over America you continue to see the acts of violence towards my kind I can't do nothing but to speak about it and see the common denominator but not one time have I ever said let's act violent towards cops.
"I just said that what's going on in our community is not ok and we fear for our lives and it's something that we go on every single day as a black man, a black woman, a black kid, a black girl, we fear that moment where we're pulled over."
James referenced the case of a black man who was placed in handcuffs in June after neighbours alleged he was trespassing at a house in Wisconsin that he was renting.
"The police came in the house without a warrant, without anything and arrested the guy, a black man, because he was sitting out on the porch," James added. "And if you can't tell me that's not racial profiling then I don't know what the hell we're looking at.
"I do not condone violence towards anyone, police, black people, white people, anyone of colour, anyone not of colour because that's not going to ever make this world or America what we want it to be."