The Arc Calls Out LeBron James for Offensive Language

On Friday night, at a post-playoff game press conference, LeBron James used an offensive word to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. The video of his comment was posted widely online, and quickly caught the attention of the media and The Arc’s national office. The Arc’s CEO, Peter Berns, released this comment to the media:

“LeBron James should apologize immediately. No matter the context, this language is very offensive to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, and an athlete admired by kids everywhere should recognize the power of his actions and words.”

LeBron James began his next press conference with an apology.

We want to hear your take on this issue – when sports figures or celebrities use language that some find offensive, do they have a responsibility to apologize?

Let us know in the comments.

3 thoughts on “The Arc Calls Out LeBron James for Offensive Language

  1. This is completly SILLY!!! This specific blog post is like typical “Fox News” media taking things completely out of proportion and greatly bending things. I’m not defending LeBron and support the Arc, but LeBron’s comment was CLEARLY not directed towards any specific people. He said “THIS [question] is “retarded”, but I have NO clear and absolute idea how you are connecting this to people with disabilities OR The Arc, simply because he used the word “retarded”. Sure, it may have sounded silly, but his comment CLEARLY had ***NOTHING*** to do with people with developmental disabilities.

    He wasn’t describing a PERSON, nor was he referring to a group of people. He didn’t say “He/She is retarded…” Goodness, are you that starved for stories ideas to create such a wrong accusation because he’s a basketball player?

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment. We responded in the media to LeBron James’ comment because The Arc and its members have worked so hard for decades to get the r-word out of society. For many people with I/DD, the r-word brings back all the oppression, humiliation, and insults they’ve experienced in their lifetime. And so part of our responsibility is to educate celebrities like LeBron James and the people who look up to him about why using that word is not OK.

  2. Pingback: Reflections on Tracy Morgan, Other Celebrities and the “R-Word” | The Arc Blog

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