UFC Star Slams LeBron James in Anthem Row: Calls Him 'Coward'

LeBron's Arena Entry Sparks Widespread Debate and Criticism.

by Nouman Rasool
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UFC Star Slams LeBron James in Anthem Row: Calls Him 'Coward'
© Tim Heitman/Getty Images

In a recent escalation of the ongoing debate surrounding respect for the national anthem, UFC welterweight fighter Colby Covington has openly criticized NBA superstar LeBron James. This controversy was sparked by a video showing James entering the University of Southern California's arena during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner," after which he promptly sat down.

Covington, who is gearing up for his upcoming UFC 296 welterweight bout against Leon Edwards, expressed his thoughts on Wednesday night. He directed a harsh rebuke at James, suggesting that the basketball player, who has earned substantial wealth in the United States, should leave the country if he dislikes it.

Covington's comments were punctuated by a direct challenge to James, accusing him of exploiting labor in foreign sweatshops for his personal gain and branding him a coward.

James' Controversial Entrance

The incident at the center of this controversy was captured by Orange County Register reporter Luca Evans.

The video features James walking into the Galen Center with his son Bryce and two teammates from Sierra Canyon High School. James was there to watch his elder son, Bronny, play his first game since recovering from a cardiac arrest earlier in the summer.

Social media users quickly noted that James did not stand or remove his hat during the anthem, actions traditionally observed as signs of respect. This prompted criticisms of James for allegedly showing a lack of respect for the United States and its national anthem.

However, Evans, the reporter who filmed the video, has since responded to the backlash. He asserts that James' actions have been a consistent practice for years, intended to minimize disruptions during his son's games at Sierra Canyon.

According to Evans, the timing of James' entrance is strategic, aiming to avoid causing a commotion, a point he emphasized in a statement defending James' actions. This latest episode adds another layer to the ongoing national conversation about patriotism, respect for symbols of national identity, and the responsibilities of public figures in the sports world.

As the debate continues, figures from various sports disciplines, like Covington, are increasingly voicing their opinions, contributing to a complex and often divisive discourse.

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