First, there was this:
Now, a day later, we have this:
My bad if I was not clear.LBJ never said anything about boycotting.He’s a friend and I would never want to imply something he didn’t say
— Roger Mason Jr (@MoneyMase) May 14, 2014
Roger Mason Jr. is the vice president of the NBA Players Association, and has been a strong voice as part of the union’s leadership in the past. In an interview with Jim Rome on Showtime, he sure made it seem like he had heard directly from LeBron James, and that James would lead a boycott if Clippers owner Donald Sterling hadn’t been removed from that position by the beginning of next season.
“I was just in the locker room three or four days ago. LeBron and I talked about it,” Mason said. “He ain’t playing if Sterling is still an owner.”
Apparently, that’s not exactly the case.
As predicted by Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, James obviously wants no part of this as he marches deeper into the postseason, and now that Mason’s quotes have hit the national media, he’s clearly been forced to retract.
“Jim asked me about guys playing next season if Sterling remained an owner. I mentioned I spoke to LBJ as I speak to many players,” Mason said via his Twitter page. “The bottom line is that our commissioner, team owners, fans, players, and the world all agree that there is no place for racism in our league.”
That last part is completely obvious. What isn’t as clear is why Mason felt the need to be interviewed about the subject and speak so strongly about it, while involving essentially the face of the league and the game’s best player if James hadn’t specifically made those statements.
The league is moving as quickly as possible to terminate Sterling’s ownership, and they will do so no matter the court battle that likely awaits them in the future. It seems as though Mason felt like keeping the pressure on from the players’ standpoint to ensure that this in fact takes place, but it seemed wholly unnecessary given the swift and forceful way that commissioner Adam Silver has responded.