LeBron James was the subject of a minor controversy when he posted rap lyrics to a popular song on his Instagram. James, who is known for posting videos of himself rapping on social media, posted the lyrics “We been getting that Jewish money. Everything is Kosher.” from the song ASMR by 21 Savage on his Instagram story.
While many may not know about the implications of the lyrics, it has long been a stereotype to define Jewish people by their money, especially in pop culture.
After the Lakers loss to the Grizzlies on Sunday, James apologized for referencing the lyrics, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:
“Apologies, for sure, if I offended anyone. That’s not why I chose to share that lyric. I always [post lyrics]. That’s what I do. I ride in my car, I listen to great music, and that was the byproduct of it. So, I actually thought it was a compliment, and obviously it wasn’t through the lens of a lot of people. My apologies. It definitely was not the intent, obviously, to hurt anybody.”
So here’s the thing. A lot of people are going to scream about fake outrage. But what LeBron said was wrong and hurtful to a great deal of people, including many that idolize him both for his on-court and off-court exploits. I’m not the best person to speak on this, seeing as I’m not Jewish, but it’s pretty clear that it’s a type of stereotype akin to the ones that James has often spoken out against.
The other side of the coin matters, too. James has generally been socially conscious and doesn’t really have a lot of these moments for people to point to as evidence of his transgressions. Whether LeBron’s apology was enough is something for others – namely those who can be offended by the lyrics – to decide. But it’s safe to say that it won’t be something that he overlooks any longer.