Like many other public figures, James suggested that the Columbus shooting was unjustified on the heels of the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on murder and manslaughter charges in the death of George Floyd.
“YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY,” the NBA icon wrote with an hourglass emoji over an image of one of the officers at the scene of Bryant’s shooting.
Critics accused James of inciting violence, with many of them alleging that his tweet violated Twitter’s policies.
However, Twitter has refrained from taking a stance on the tweet because it has been deleted by the athlete.
“Our teams do not evaluate deleted Tweets as they are no longer on the service, rendering it impossible,” a Twitter spokesperson confirmed to Fox News after the Washington Examiner first reported the social media giant’s position.
James returned to Twitter to explain the “ANGER” he felt when he sent the tweet.
“ANGER does [sic] any of us any good and that includes myself!” James tweeted. “Gathering all the facts and educating does though! My anger still is here for what happened [to] that lil girl. My sympathy for her family and may justice prevail!”
He added, “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 about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism. I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY.”
James is one of several public figures and mainstream media outlets who have downplayed the fact that Bryant was attacking someone when she was shot.
Former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett claimed Wednesday that the police officer had shot Bryant “in order to break up a knife fight.”
Other tweets, including missives from The New York Times and The Washington Post, completely omitted any reference to the knife Bryant was holding at the time of the shooting.