Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James called out what he believed to be a double standard after the Washington Post published a photo of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones outside of North Little Rock High School in 1957 when the school was integrating.
"I got one question for you guys before you guys leave," James told reporters following Wednesday's 128-109 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. "I was thinking when I was on my way over here, I was wondering why I haven't gotten a question from you guys about the Jerry Jones photo. But when the Kyrie [Irving] thing was going on, you guys were quick to ask us questions about that."
The Brooklyn Nets suspended Irving earlier this season after he promoted an antisemitic film on social media and refused to condemn the problematic themes presented. It was briefly one of the biggest stories in the NBA, which prompted reporters to ask stars such as James their thoughts on the matter.
As part of their Black Out series on the lack of diversity among the NFL's coaching ranks, the Washington Post's David Maraniss and Sally Jenkins wrote an in-depth profile of Jones given his outsized importance in the league.
They detailed how Jones, who grew up in North Little Rock, Arkansas, stood outside of North Little Rock High when six Black students were attempting to enter the school.
The revelation isn't a focal point of the profile but is included as part of a deeper look into Jones' hiring practices with the Cowboys.
Maraniss and Jenkins note how the 80-year-old can not only open doors for people of color but also help shift the paradigm in the NFL because he's arguably the league's most powerful figure not named Roger Goodell.
Jones told the Post he "want(s) to be the first in line" on improving diversity now, but that hasn't been true in the past:
"But league executives say there was one issue Jones never pressed or even expressed much of an opinion on: race. Before and after the Rooney Rule was instituted in 2003, the league regularly discussed its embarrassing minority hiring record. Jones seemed uninterested. 'Other things have been more important,' one longtime former team executive said. 'Being powerful — that’s what is important to him.'"
Jones has already addressed perhaps the most talked about portion of the feature. He told reporters he "didn't know at the time the monumental event that was going on" at the protest in 1957.
It's bound to become a topic of discussion once again after James' postgame press conference.