LeBron James has sparked mass outrage with fans on social media after a now-deleted tweet targeted a Columbus police officer who shot Ma’Khia Bryant.
Bryant, a 16-year-old black girl, was involved in an incident last Tuesday where she appeared to attack two other people with a knife in Columbus, Ohio.
Columbus police were called to reports of a person armed with a knife and Nicholas Reardon shot and killed Bryant during the incident.
The shooting took place not long after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted for the murder of George Floyd.
James took to Twitter last week and posted a picture of Reardon alongside the caption, “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY,” which included an hourglass emoji.
The 36-year-old Los Angeles Lakers superstar previously used the ‘accountability’ hashtag after the guilty verdict was handed down in the Floyd trial.
James has since pulled his controversial tweet about Reardon down, saying that he deleted it “because its [sic] being used to create more hate.”
The four-time NBA champion tweeted: “ANGER does [not do] any of us any good and that includes myself! Gathering all the facts and educating does though! My anger still is here for what happened that lil [sic] girl. My sympathy for her family and may justice prevail!
“I’m so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police. I took the tweet down because its being used to create more hate -This isn’t about one officer. it’s [sic] about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism. I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY.”
James’ actions have led to massive backlash on social media as fans are calling for his sponsors to drop him in the wake of his tweet.
And fans are also calling for a boycott of the highly anticipated Space Jam: A New Legacy, which will feature James in the leading role.
American publication Fox News attempted to reach out to James’ sponsors for comment last week, but they confirmed at the time that they didn’t hear back.
Paulina Dedaj wrote: “Fox News also made attempts to reach out for comment regarding the anti-cop tweet to some of James’ sponsors, including Nike, Pepsi, General Motors, Beats Electronics and Walmart, but none have answered as of Thursday morning.”