Joy Reid is a journalist who’s exceptionally talented at saying what we’re all thinking. Despite the rebrand of figures like Megyn Kelly, Fox News has always used black people as a punchline. Kelly trafficked in fringe damaging and untrue narratives about black people for years on her Fox platform before moving to a more mainstream environment like the TODAY show.
At the 2016 Democratic National Convention, First Lady Michelle Obama, referring to the White House, remarked that every morning “I wake up in a house built by slaves.”
Michelle Obama was remarking upon the progress made by black Americans since the brutality of slavery, and how far the project of civil rights still has to go. Then-Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s response to that was:
“Slaves that worked there were well fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government, which stopped hiring slave labor in 1802.”
Fox News clearly has no trouble trafficking in damaging narratives. So it was unsurprising when Laura Ingraham, host of The Ingraham Angle, attacked NBA player LeBron James for speaking up about politics.
In a video with fellow NBA star Kevin Durant, James said that Trump, elected to “the No. 1 job in America, the appointed person, is someone who doesn’t understand the people and really don’t give a f*** about the people.”
On her show, Ingraham told James to “shut up and dribble,” and to keep his political commentary to himself. After this controversy, Joy Reid used a segment on her own show to clear things up:
“There is this extent to which Fox News has decided that the grist for the ratings mill is black people,” Reid said. “Black NFL players, black NBA players.”
The examples of notable athletes who have commented on politics is too numerous to count. It includes Jesse Owens, a black runner who won the 1936 Olympic games, in the face of Hitler’s bold claim that the superior race was white. In 2016, Colin Kaepernick knelt for the national anthem to protest police brutality. And famed boxer Muhammad Ali was put in jail for refusing to fight in the Vietnam War, which he deeply opposed.
James has since responded to Ingraham’s comments.
LeBron James: “We will definitely not shut up and dribble. I will definitely not do that.” https://t.co/4SsgsukbCh
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 18, 2018
In James, the tradition of athletes speaking truth to power lives on, and no matter how hard they try, Fox News can’t silence that.
Image provided via Youtube screenshot