LeBron’s Q-Rating, image didn’t really take a hit among blacks
You know how America hates LeBron James now after “The Decision?”
That’s not exactly true. We should say white America hates LeBron, because the numbers say black Americans do not.
We’ve seen this divide before, the OJ Simpson trial had a lot of it. Thomas uses the term “black protectionism” and explains it this way.
The more America shuns LeBron, the more Black America retreats to his corner. In fact, as America hates LeBron more and more, Black America’s collective hug embraces LeBron tighter and tighter. It’s called black protectionism.
Athletes have always been inspirational figures within the black community and -- as far back as Jack Johnson, Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson -- often have taken the public racial hit for the team. So, naturally, through the years, they’ve engendered an almost automatic protectionism response whenever America -- whether justifiably or not -- decides it wants to hate them. You saw it with Hank Aaron. You saw it with Barry Bonds. You saw it with Allen Iverson. You saw it with Michael Vick. You’re seeing it now with LeBron James.
Thomas makes this comment about how we view athletes, and the perspective of hating LeBron.
Henry Abbott makes an interesting point at TrueHoop: Maybe what LeBron did was step out of the normal role as player to craft his own destiny, and that upsets the order of things. And with that, upsets some people. It wasn’t just free agency, but the plotting through free agency to manipulate and create a “superteam.” Of course, Pat Riley frankly had a lot to do with that, more than LeBron. But it is LeBron that bears the brunt of the hatred.
Go read the whole posts. I’m not going to pretend to understand all the cultural influences at play here, but the debate is interesting and says a lot about divides that still exist in America.