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7 May, 2020 19:18

LeBron James accused of 'sh*t-stirring' and 'brand-building' after tweeting outrage at death of young black man

LeBron James accused of 'sh*t-stirring' and 'brand-building' after tweeting outrage at death of young black man

LeBron James has been accused of using the death of a young black man in Georgia to "build a brand" and "sh*t stir," after the NBA icon suggested African Americans were "being hunted" in a tweet about the tragedy.

Footage appeared this week of the death of Ahmaud Arbery, 25, who was killed on February 23 while out running just outside Brunswick, according to authorities in Georgia. 

Arbery had reportedly been chased down by father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael, who were reportedly armed and suspected Arbery of being the person behind a series of break-ins in the area. After a struggle with Travis McMichael, shots were fired and Arbery was killed.

James responded to the emergence of the footage of the incident by tweeting his outrage on Wednesday.   

“We’re literally hunted EVERYDAY/EVERYTIME we step foot outside the comfort of our homes!” the LA Lakers star fumed.

“Can’t even go for a damn jog man! Like WTF man are you kidding me?!?!?!?!?!? No man fr ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!! I’m sorry Ahmaud (Rest In Paradise) and my prayers and blessings sent to the heavens above to your family.”

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However, that response has drawn accusations from bellicose Fox Sports host Jason Whitlock that James was using the death to burnish an image as a social rights warrior. 

“This isn’t helpful. It’s twitter trolling. It’s using this man’s tragedy to build a brand as more outspoken than Michael Jordan," Whitlock wrote. 

"There are all kinds of ways to draw attention to this tragedy. Suggesting that we are hunted everyday/every time is just sh*t-stirring.”

Whitlock promptly became the center of his own backlash, although doubled-down on Thursday, tweeting: “LeBron is the Pied Piper for a lot of athletes.

“If the goal is to promote justice for Ahmaud Arbery, LeBron’s rhetoric doesn’t promote justice. It promotes emotion and fear, the enemies of justice. We can continue to promote emotion/fear or we can seek justice.”

No criminal charges were initially filed in the Arbery case, although Gregory and Travis McMichael were later charged with felony murder and aggravated assault, and on Friday were in the custody of the Glynn County Sheriff's Department.