OPINION: No, LeBron shouldn’t ‘shut up and dribble’


By Heath Kalb, Sports Editor

On the February 16 episode of The Ingraham Angle, Fox News host Laura Ingraham criticized NBA superstar LeBron James and his criticism of Donald Trump, telling him to “shut up and dribble.” This attitude is ludicrous and downright arrogant.

As athletes have become more outspoken in politics, the mantra of “stick to sports” has become more prevalent among some commentators. Athletes like LeBron have worked tirelessly their whole lives to get to the highest level. Basketball is his platform, and he is going to use it to positively influence the world and his fans.

Ingraham has a history of making insensitive statements—and whether or not the “shut up and dribble” rant had racial intent—it was still unacceptable. After all, Ingraham is the same woman who mocked a student activist who survived the Parkland shooting.

LeBron is one of, if not the most, prominent and celebrated athletes in America. With tens of millions of kids looking up to him, it’s simply wrong to tell him to stay quiet on political issues. He is a well spoken, smart and charitable role model and it is his right, like every other American, to speak out about anything he wants to.

While many athletes already do speak their minds on issues outside of sports, even more should open up. As topics like gun control, race and a controversial president increase in prominence, I applaud anyone who communicates their opinion. Athletes should be encouraged to take advantage of their voice in America and it should be made clear to them that they could make a real difference.

Just in the last few years athletes from all sports have spurred conversation in America and I hope it continues. Movements such as Black Lives Matter have been furthered through sports and those who are speaking out or raising their fists or wearing a particular shirt to convey their message are courageous. Athletes are finding their voice reminiscent of the ‘60s and this is why sports is so important.

Many fans believe and see sports as solely an escape from real life and they’re wrong. Athletes and those involved with sports have been and will be sticking up for what they believe is right. Each and every athlete has a right to and should speak out no matter how controversial the issue, and never should they be told to “shut up and dribble.”