Team USA's Complicated Relationship with Human Rights

August, 4, 2008
8/04/08
11:19
AM ET

LeBron James a few weeks ago said on ESPN, and the people at Aid Still Required told me recently, that the Beijing Olympics will be a time to make some big political points about Darfur and some other issues.

There was talk of a meeting among NBA players affiliated with Aid Still Required who would be in the games planning what form their activism would take in Beijing. 

In the last few days, however, after Jerry Colangelo addressed the team about politics, it's hard to find any player on the team who is still feeling political.

In the video report below, LeBron James says it's time to focus on basketball, and in terms of Darfur, he says cryptically, "whatever happens, happens." 

The impression he gave before was that whatever happened he might make happen. I don't get that feeling now that the Olympics are around the corner. 

 
I am glad not to be carrying the expectations that come with being LeBron James. It's not easy to please everyone. And it may well be that he just doesn't want to make waves on this one. Maybe he's not the guy. (And who knows what the right answers are to make the Sudan a healthier place in the long-term.)  
 
But that leaves me asking: Who is the guy? I don't believe for one second that every athlete needs to stick their noses into every issue. But this is a big issue. This is genocide. And we have a collection of athletes who have made clear that they get why it matters, and that they want to use their celebrity to help bring change. To have those guys sit idly by when the chips are down, that doesn't sit well.
 
Kobe Bryant stars in that PSA. He showed last summer that he's willing to rock the boat. Maybe he's the guy.
  

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