Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James came under yet more scrutiny this week after his outburst during the playing of the U.S. national anthem during a game against the Clippers.
James was accused of being disrespectful as the “Star-Spangled Banner” played as he tried to pump up the crowd. It didn’t appear that he was trying to make a political protest of any kind.
On social media and elsewhere, he faced backlash for “disrespecting” the anthem.
“Yes, we do have freedom of speech, but at times there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you are not thinking about others and only thinking about yourself,” James told reporters earlier this month. “I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand and he spoke, and so many people could have been harmed not only financially but physically, emotionally, spiritually.”
A number of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong used James’ remarks as a motivator, creating memes and T-shirts showing James as Chairman Mao or driving a Chinese regime tank during the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre that left thousands dead.
To add insult to injury, the Lakers lost to the Clippers 112-102.
James addressed the fans after the loss, but he made no mention of the national anthem controversy.
A number of users blasted him in the comments section, with one saying, “Respect our anthem you overpaid tool.”
“This guy is pure [expletive] when he disrespects the anthem but wont speak up about whats going on in Disgusting china (sic),” one said.