Bomani Jones offered up some thoughts on athletes speaking out and how it relates to former President Donald Trump during a recent episode of his "The Right Time" podcast.
In a conversation with his ESPN colleague Domonique Foxworth, Jones brought up LeBron James' recent complaint that media members did not ask him about a photo of Jerry Jones as a teenager being present at a gathering of white students blocking Black students from integrating a school.
Jones thought James' complaint was "ridiculous" but did think there was an overriding point to be made about athletes making their voices heard.
“There was a thing about five years ago where people talked a lot about this network and people talking about political things that were not about sports,” Jones said, referring to the notion that ESPN doesn’t always stick to sports. “And I actually empathize with the bosses a great deal on this situation and here’s why. People determine how adept you are in talking about these things by evaluating whether or not they agree with what the thing is that you said. It’s not necessarily about how adroitly you can navigate the topics.”
“The truth is, most people are not qualified to talk about these things before the world because talking about these things before the world is very, very difficult,” Jones said of athletes such as LeBron addressing social and political issues. “Being able to handle follow-up questions is very difficult. You just get lucky, because most of the people across from you are not qualified to ask follow-up questions.”
One of the major reasons why Jones said athletes and people in general felt comfortable discussing issues they may not have been well-versed on was because of Donald Trump.
“This happened in the height of Trump,” Jones said, via Awful Announcing. “Trump took away the idea that you had to know what you were talking about before talking about something and being respected on whatever it is. It became, ‘If this dude can be president, why can’t I say what it is that I feel?’ We really had to open the door on ‘If that’s how you feel’ when the President of the United States kicks it in a certain way. That’s where we wound up. And so maybe that’s where we get with LeBron when he throws this sort of whatabout thing out there.”
You can view all of Jones' convo with Foxworth here.