Are athletes obligated to speak out on social issues? Tamir Rice’s mother seems to think so.
Just days after a grand jury declined to indict the officers involved in the 2014 death of Tamir, Samaria Rice is speaking out and asking Cleveland native LeBron James to speak out on her son’s behalf.
“I think it’s quite sad that LeBron hasn’t spoken out about my son,” Samaria said to NewsOne Now’s Roland Martin yesterday. “I’m not asking him to sit out a game. I know his kids got to eat, too. But you can at least put on a shirt or something…I’m not asking nobody to quit their job or anything, but make a statement for us Black people out here.”
Her statement comes mere days after a Cleveland grand jury declined to indict either of the officers involved in the 12-year-old’s death. Soon after the grand jury’s announcement, James spoke with reporters about the case, but admitted that he wasn’t familiar with all of the details and declined to comment directly.
“The issue is bigger than me,” James told Cleveland.com. “It’s about everyone. And gun violence and tragedies and kids losing lives at a young age, some way, somehow, we need to understand that that matters more than just an individual.”
Tamir died November 2014 while playing with a toy gun in a public park. Within one second of arriving on the scene, Officer Timothy Loehmann exited the squad car and opened fire, fatally striking Rice, who died the following day at a hospital.