Accidents, mistakes, goofs and F@#$ ups happen. LeBron James shouldn’t have said retarded three years ago and he shouldn’t have said it when answering a question before the Heat – Thunder game last night. However, people should stop and think before they start using every slur in the book about someone in the spotlight who is bound to have a slip up now and then.
When asked something about Durant’s improvement as a passer before the game, James said I actually think that’s a pretty funny thing when people say ‘people’s growth of passing the ball.’ That is retarded to me. Kevin Durant’s growth of being a passer? That’s part of basketball.
Maybe he remembered saying it, or maybe someone mentioned it to him, but before answering questions in the post-game environment, James began by saying I used the word ‘retarded’ before the game. Obviously it had nothing to do with kids that are underprivileged. It’s no knock on them. It’s a word that’s been around for a long time where I grew up. It’s a bad habit. I’ll try to break it. If I use it again– I’m gonna try to do my best not to. I mean no disrespect.
If you might remember, LeBron James had a similar incident in the 2011 NBA finals, muttering the word after a question he didn’t really like directed at him and Dwyane Wade.
James apologized back then, his more “childish” phase, and wasn’t fined. He might lose some money over this one, being a “second offense” and all, but that is where it should end. Maybe it says something about our society and our language, but retarded is a word people use in conversations as an insult for stupidity, and rarely throw it at one another with the actual meaning of it, in context with mental disability. It might be offensive to a large section of the population. It’s insensitive, I’ll give you that. But James hasn’t escaped culpability or tried to make a foolish excuse.
It doesn’t mean there won’t be those calling for his head, and for more than just an apology or even a fine. But as Kurt Helin said it pretty perfectly in his post about the incident, this “controversy” is really more of a Rorschach test than anything — what you think this says about LeBron and his character really says more about what you think about LeBron than anything else.