Zlatan attacks LeBron for statements on justice

Zlatan Ibrahimovich has spoken out against James’s push for social justice reform


“I’m kind of the wrong guy to actually go at because I do my homework,” James said in response to Zlatan.

Michael Pitts, Staff Writer

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the star striker on A.C. Milan, is celebrated as one of the most decorated soccer players of all-time, earning 31 total trophies from awards, tournaments and league championships. He has scored over 570 career goals, the third-most among active players behind only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. 

Unfortunately, Ibrahimovich has been in the news lately for the wrong reasons, as he recently criticized NBA star LeBron James for being a social activist. 

James is known for being a philanthropist in his community, basketball star, global ambassador and icon. He has spoken out against social injustice, created a school for underprivileged youth and has multiple charities that serve his hometown community. One of James’s most famous acts for his community was opening a high school for at-risk youth called I Promise in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. This school has free tuition and provides school supplies at no cost, giving its students a chance to receive an excellent education and attend college.

Ibrahimovich claimed that a professional athlete’s only job is to entertain the crowds and fans, not involve themselves with politics and social justice reform.

“Athletes unite the world, politics divide it,” Ibrahimovic told reporters in a recent interview. “Our role is to unite the world by doing what we do best. Athletes should be athletes and politicians should do politics.”

Ibrahimovich’s statement led to the following response from James in a post-game interview:

“I would never shut up about wrong things. I preach about my people and I preach about equality. Social injustice. Racism. Systematic voter suppression. Things that go on in our community.”

Later in that interview, James noted that he doesn’t make these statements lightly.

“I’m kind of the wrong guy to actually go at because I do my homework,” he said.

James also pointed out that other athletes are also speaking out and helping their respective communities. Leagues such as the NBA, MLB and NFL are filled with social activists who stand up for their beliefs. Even the leagues themselves have campaigns, events and charities that benefit social justice and raise awareness for various social causes. For example, the NFL placed the “Black Lives Matter” slogan on all of their team’s helmets this past season, while the NBA is allowing players to have social justice-related quotes on the back of their jerseys.

Ibrahimovic’s comments coincide with the “shut up and dribble” comment made by Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham towards James three years ago. Backlash quickly followed. Time will tell if the same happens in this case.

The call for athletes and celebrities to “stay in their lane” and focus on their craft is delusional, especially in the world we live in right now. As our country has grown more conscientious regarding social issues, protests have become more widespread.

These movements demand attention, and athletes have the following and platform to provide that. It is their right, as people, to speak their mind. Lebron should not “shut up and dribble.” He has done so many positive things for this world and he should continue to do so. James is an athlete, but he is also an activist. It is inherently wrong to restrict a person who is just trying to do the right thing.