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LeBron James 'disappointed' reporters haven't questioned him about 1957 Jerry Jones photo

The NBA superstar wanted to know why he was asked about former teammate Kyrie Irving promoting an antisemitic film on Twitter but not about Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' 1957 desegregation photo.
Arkansas Desegregation
Posted at 5:28 PM, Dec 01, 2022

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is used to reporters asking him questions, but on Wednesday, the 4-time NBA champion wanted to ask them something.

During a postgame press conference, James pointed out that he's received questions about former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate Kyrie Irving tweeting a link to an antisemitic film. But not once had he been asked about a resurfaced photo from 1957 that showed Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones standing with a crowd outside of North Little Rock High School in Arkansas while the school was integrating, NBC Sports and ESPN reported.

"I got one question for you guys before you guys leave," James said per the media outlets. "I was thinking when I was on my way over here. I was wondering why I haven't gotten a question from you guys about the Jerry Jones photo," James said. "But when the Kyrie [Irving] thing was going on, you guys were quick to ask us questions about that."

Irving, who now plays for the Brooklyn Nets, was suspended on Nov. 3 for sharing the link and for failing to make clear that he holds no antisemitic beliefs, NBC Sports reported. James later condemned Irving, and was initially asked why NBA players didn't comment on Irving’s post, ESPN and The Washington Post reported.

“Me personally, I don’t condone any hate of any kind. To any race. To Jewish communities, to Black communities, to Asian communities. You guys know where I stand,” the NBA superstar said at the time. “I believe what Kyrie did cause some harm to a lot of people. And he has since ... apologized. But he caused some harm, and I think it’s unfortunate.”

The black-and-white Associated Press photo of then-14-year-old Jones standing in the 1957 Arkansas desegregation protest, which was unearthed by The Washington Post when it published it on Nov. 23 alongside an article about the lack of diversity in the NFL coaching ranks.

Arkansas Desegregation
FILE - In this Sept. 9, 1957 photo at Arkansas' North Little Rock High School, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, then 14 years old, was there in the crowd as six Black students enrolled in the school. The photo was unearthed and published by The Washington Post on November 23, 2022. (AP Photo/William P. Straeter)

"When I watch Kyrie talk, and he says, 'I know who I am, but I want to keep the same energy when we're talking about my people and the things that we've been through,' and that Jerry Jones photo is one of those moments that our people, Black people, have been through in America," James said as he concluded the presser, the news outlets reported. "And I feel like as a Black man, as a Black athlete, as someone with power and a platform, when we do something wrong, or something that people don't agree with, it's on every single tabloid, every single news coverage, it's on the bottom ticker. It's asked about every single day.

"But it seems like to me that the whole Jerry Jones situation, photo -- and I know it was years and years ago, and we all make mistakes, I get it -- but it seems like it's just been buried under, like, 'Oh, it happened. OK, we just move on.' And I was just kind of disappointed that I haven't received that question from you guys."

Last week, Jones told reporters that that was him in the 65-year-old photo but said he was there because he was curious, ESPN and USA Today reported.

"I didn't know at the time the monumental event really that was going on," Jones said, according to ESPN and USA Today. "I'm sure glad that we're a long way from that. I am. That would remind me [to] just continue to do everything we can to not have those kinds of things happen."