LeBron James Criticises Ibrahimovic After Being Told To 'Keep Politics Out Of Sport'

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LeBron James Criticises Ibrahimovic After Being Told To 'Keep Politics Out Of Sport'

US basketball megastar LeBron James and Swedish football superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic have clashed over differing opinions regarding politics and its relation to sport, with Ibrahimovic telling James to stay out of politics because "it doesn't look good".

LeBron James has been outspoken regarding the Black Lives Matter movement, vocally supporting their call to end racism and fight police brutality.

The row was sparked due to an interview Ibrahimovic gave to UEFA, broadcast in Sweden, in which he said:

"Do what you're good at. Do the category that you do. I play football because I'm the best at playing football, I'm no politician. If I'd been a politician, I would be doing politics. This is the first mistake famous people do when they become famous and come into a certain status. For me it is better to avoid certain topics and do what you're best at doing, because otherwise it doesn't look good."

After hearing the comments, James retorted:

"I will never shut up about things that are wrong. I preach about my people and I preach about equality, social injustice, racism, systematic voter suppression, things that go on in our community. There's no way I would ever just stick to sports, because I understand how powerful this platform and my voice is."

Many remarked that Ibrahimovic's comments were hypocritical given that he himself had spoken out about racism in Sweden. Ibrahimovic was born in Bosnia & Herzegovina but played internationally for Sweden.

Ibrahimovic's alleged hypocrisy was not missed by James, who added:

"I'm kinda the wrong guy to actually go at... I do my homework. He's the guy who said in Sweden, he was talking about the same things, because his last name wasn't a [traditional Swedish] last name, he felt like there was some racism going on when he was out on the pitch."

Indeed in 2018, Ibrahimovic told reporters, following criticism of his performance:

"This is about racism. I don't say there is racism, but I say there is undercover racism."

In recent months some sporting associations have stepped back from 'taking the knee', a prominent act that took hold following the long protests of 2020 in both the United States and elsewhere.

Wilfried Zaha, who is black and plays for the English football team Crystal Palace, was the first professional player to stop taking the knee on the grounds that he found it 'degrading' and because he felt it had outlived its purpose. Most players at the recent six-nations rugby matches have now also stopped taking the knee.

[h/t: BBC]

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Thinking Humanity: LeBron James Criticises Ibrahimovic After Being Told To 'Keep Politics Out Of Sport'
LeBron James Criticises Ibrahimovic After Being Told To 'Keep Politics Out Of Sport'
US basketball megastar LeBron James and Swedish football superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic have clashed over differing opinions regarding politics and its
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