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LeBron's Q-Rating, image didn't really take a hit among blacks

Sep 21, 2010, 2:29 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for LeBron_Heat.jpgYou know how America hates LeBron James now after “The Decision?”

That’s not exactly true. We should say white America hates LeBron, because the numbers say black Americans do not.

In a fascinating post at ESPN, Vincent Thomas has the numbers:

According to The Q Scores Co., for non-blacks, LeBron’s positive Q rating went from 18 percent in January to 10 percent in September and, more telling, his negative Q rating went from 24 percent to 44. Nearly half of the non-blacks in this country don’t like the dude. Meanwhile, LeBron’s positive Q rating among blacks went from 52 percent in January to 39 — a noticeable drop — but his negative Q rating barely budged, going from 14 percent to 15. Among African-Americans, says The Q Scores Co. executive vice president Henry Schafer, the shift in opinion was mostly to neutral.

We’ve seen this divide before, the OJ Simpson trial had a lot of it. Thomas uses the term “black protectionism” and explains it this way.

The more America shuns LeBron, the more Black America retreats to his corner. In fact, as America hates LeBron more and more, Black America’s collective hug embraces LeBron tighter and tighter. It’s called black protectionism.

Athletes have always been inspirational figures within the black community and — as far back as Jack Johnson, Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson — often have taken the public racial hit for the team. So, naturally, through the years, they’ve engendered an almost automatic protectionism response whenever America — whether justifiably or not — decides it wants to hate them. You saw it with Hank Aaron. You saw it with Barry Bonds. You saw it with Allen Iverson. You saw it with Michael Vick. You’re seeing it now with LeBron James.

Thomas makes this comment about how we view athletes, and the perspective of hating LeBron.

And for what? Why? Because “The Decision” was annoying and self-indulgent? I’m sorry, but Brett Favre was nowhere to be found on The Q Scores Co.’s top 10 most disliked list. And, dig this: America dislikes LeBron more than it dislikes Ben Roethlisberger. That’s just not deserved. So, you know what? Enter the ride-or-die black community.

Henry Abbott makes an interesting point at TrueHoop: Maybe what LeBron did was step out of the normal role as player to craft his own destiny, and that upsets the order of things. And with that, upsets some people. It wasn’t just free agency, but the plotting through free agency to manipulate and create a “superteam.” Of course, Pat Riley frankly had a lot to do with that, more than LeBron. But it is LeBron that bears the brunt of the hatred.

Go read the whole posts. I’m not going to pretend to understand all the cultural influences at play here, but the debate is interesting and says a lot about divides that still exist in America.

  1. Yeah Buddy - Sep 21, 2010 at 2:52 PM

    this whole poll was retarded…why would this be of any importance to anybody

  2. Blog - Sep 21, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    This is irritating. I will try to be sensitive, but why do most blacks feel as if there is still a massive reacism issue in america? Maybe if they would get over the issue and realize there is not, everyone can move past it and the blacks can stop ‘black protectivism’. After all, we do have a 1/2 black president (cringe). Let this go…move on, its not the 1800′s anymore.

  3. Yeah Buddy - Sep 21, 2010 at 2:55 PM

    this whole poll was retarded…why would this be of any importance to anybody

  4. Wishing - Sep 21, 2010 at 3:54 PM

    I think if slavery still existed the economy wouldn’t be so bad…. I’m just saying…

  5. Wishing - Sep 21, 2010 at 3:57 PM

    I think if slavery still existed the economy wouldn’t be so bad…. I’m just saying…

  6. Anonymous - Sep 21, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    easy for u to say becuse u don’t have to deal with it

  7. Anonymous - Sep 21, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    please you all would be stealing so much from each that the economy would be worst and after you get caught stilling you would go home and kill your whole family before killing yourself

  8. Hmm - Sep 21, 2010 at 5:05 PM

    one of the scariest comments I’ve seen in a while.. take an economics course before you say anything stupider.

  9. Emoney. - Sep 21, 2010 at 5:33 PM

    I’m tire of black people saying “because I’m black” Please get over
    that for all and be a roll model for all our youth. So sad we have to tell you this…

  10. Annoyed - Sep 21, 2010 at 5:50 PM

    I find it annoying that they put the Q score soley on “White America” which accounts for a little less that 65% of the population… there are more races in America than just Black and White…, or are they “assuming” the 22% of hispanics dont have televisions or internet. and news flash, noone under thirty cares if your black or white or whatever. Give the race issues a rest, or be a normal person and just say hi when you pass them in the hallway, or office, or street.

  11. Josh - Sep 21, 2010 at 5:55 PM

    Black people are just ahead of the curve on this particular issue–and also less affected by the media hysteria around it, which is partly related to the media hysteria around Obama. Anyways, just fyi: Lebron is the second best player in the league, after Kobe, and is in some ways superior. He’s NOT going to Wade’s team, he’s NOT going to be second fiddle, and he IS going to light up the league. So all the “white” people who may be now are saying “Lebron isn’t very nice, he’s selfish and egotistical” will in a couple of months mostly be tuning in for the big Saturday Heat vs Celtics game and drinking Coors Light while saying “woo hoo.” And it doesn’t matter how intensely Glenn Beck tries to tell them that Lebron is everything that is wrong with America. Love and talent win out in the end, and people want to be happy, not to hate. BTW, there is so much wrong with the above article as well as the statistical analysis of the poll in the original article… far too much to go into. But just to say, keep it coming, because you’ll all be dancing on the bandwagon in a month or two when the NBA starts one of its most “fan-tastic” seasons ever. FYI I am a Laker fan, but look forward to seeing the new Heat play. The writers can look forward to seeing new opinion polls (!?) about what people think about Lebron. Example: 1. Are you black? 2. Are you white? 3. Do you like Lebron James? 4. Did you like him more when he was in Cleveland? 5. Do you think Lebron is selfish for having his own TV show? LoL Welcome to retarded city.

  12. Josh - Sep 21, 2010 at 6:02 PM

    So exactly true. Nobody under 30 really cares about race anymore, unless they are still controlled by their (old) parents. The science of DNA and evolution has destroyed the concept of race, and only feeble minded “old school” uncool conformists (i.e., “losers”) put much stock in it.

  13. Wishing - Sep 21, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    STUPIDER??? Is that even a word?

  14. Girlf - Sep 21, 2010 at 7:33 PM

    Blacks are stupid. Very easy group of people to market to.

  15. Get a grip please! - Sep 21, 2010 at 7:44 PM

    “black protectionism”= This could be the biggest BS I have ever heard of.If this were true,we would all get along, rich blacks would live near poor blacks and we would all be dancing in the streets. But if makes you feel better, makes you chill out a little bit GOOD! Black people aren’t feelin the “media hype machine” and well, thinks/knows you guys(sports writers) are powerless geeks. There are a lot of other points I could hit on but I don’t have time for this sh!t. – out

  16. Anonymous - Sep 21, 2010 at 8:12 PM

    blacks are easy to market to but you took time to read an article about a black man and make a comment on it who is the stupid 1 here

  17. Time Traveler 2 - Sep 21, 2010 at 8:43 PM

    Girlf and Anonymous, It would seem from a differnt perspective that the world is easy to market from a Black perspective since our hip hop culture has been bought by the entire world along with our music, science and technology. Read more or get out more often. As far as that 30 and under crap you better take a look around because the plan is unfolding before your very eyes. In the early 1990′s it was stated that America will become a carmel colored society and would use Brazil as the role model. If you think about it the en vouge dark skined people have been replaced by a generic gold/carmel image throughout the media base and commercials.
    As far as slavery goes, it is alive and well resideing in every state not just the south. Prisons filled with disproportioned Blacks always ranging from 20-40yrs and the majority with more time to do than slaves lived.
    I’m just sayin too!

  18. Anonymous - Sep 21, 2010 at 9:09 PM

    you need to stay in more and stop reading books I’m just saying 3

  19. everett - Sep 21, 2010 at 9:10 PM

    i am black an the real dont run…. now thats laying the game down flat!

  20. Nick - Sep 21, 2010 at 9:48 PM

    The whole article makes a lot of ridiculous points, but black protectionism is real (how else would you explain the lack of increased dislike foe Lebron?).
    But to blame whites here is nuts. Lebron actions were extremely distasteful and lacked even an inkling of class. His ego is enormous – he decided to make an hour-long TV special about the decision that would tear the hearts out of Ohio residents.
    Those are very legitimate reasons for people to dislike him.
    And TimeTraveler2: Most people who are in prison have a reason for being there – they committed a crime. The fact that prisons are disproportinately black speaks more about the black population, not the white one….

  21. Anonymous - Sep 21, 2010 at 10:07 PM

    People dislike Lebron because he didn’t do what they wanted him to do. Lebron made the right choice for him and his family screw what the world thinks Blacks see that and wish him well whites hold on to it because they feel he should have done what they wanted him to do. him doing an hour long special is no different then brett farve doing what he did 2 yrs in a row and still gets no backlash from it.

  22. Jim E. - Sep 21, 2010 at 10:37 PM

    Lepunk stuck it to Cleveland in a very public way that was very distasteful to all who witnessed it. He did it at a point in time in which the franchise was hogtied from even looking at other free agents. To make it even worse, he brought in other organizations to Cleveland to see what they would offer (he didn’t go to them) knowing he wasn’t going to sign with them. Just wanted the attention I guess! I’ll bet that if this stupid study was focused on NE Ohio, you would see different numbers. Black, white, too white, hispanic, polka dot, or people with multicolor stripes I’m sure are all equally pissed off in the way he left. For those of you who are going to say, get over it. Again, it is not that he left, it is HOW he left! For the person that again says “get over it”, there are many different colors of butts in NE Ohio you can kiss. Just choose your fancy. To the previous comment about Brett Favre…you are right!! I know Wisconsin doesn’t have any use for him. In many ways, what he did to Green Bay and later Minnesota is worse than what Lebutt did.

  23. Get a grip please! - Sep 22, 2010 at 4:00 AM

    Lebutt,Lepunk, Lestinky, Lejerk, LeDooDoo=Lechildish Moron!You probably have a mean looking avatar too! “WAH WAH WAH quit crying b!tch.Read comment 21 and sit on it.I’m from OH(not NE!). BTW, he also helped raise a nice chunk of cash for the boys and girls club.This dude hasn’t done anything but play ball, not get into trouble and live up to some crazy expectations. GET OVER IT! GET OVER IT! GET OVER IT!Professional athletes go to other teams all of the time! Free agent ring a bell?Now go wipe your tears and go help Dan Gilbert get his head out of his a$$.

  24. Time Traveler 2 - Sep 22, 2010 at 4:54 AM

    Nick,
    The real truth is that if you only fish for shrimp then the rest of the seafood population is free to go. The inner city has always been the location to use for economic gain as it relates to being locked up and given time. The highest crime rate in the country was Beverly Hills at one point, burglary, but lowest arrests. It is simply basic numbers and those who are devalued in society provide profit for the prison industry.
    It is no different than pointing out that white America can be classified as war mongers because Black Americans don’t cause or start wars. But the fact is that Blacks too voted for those who perpetrate war yet the world looks only at the white power structure as the culprit.

  25. bull's fan inMA - Sep 22, 2010 at 6:28 AM

    I agree that this “black protectionism” is a bunch of BS.That poll suggests Blacks who disliked Lebron still dislike Lebron and he lost a lot of support from people who liked him. There was not a dramatic shift like whites for a number of reasons. I suspect Dan Gilbert’s rant was more easily viewed as racist and unprofessional by more blacks and this tempered the negative opinion shift on LeBron. No superstar white athlete ,or black one for that matter, has encountered that type public rebuke and humiliation for exercising their rights as free agents. Blacks are more sensitive to issues of race and discrimination, as they should be, and are not going to ignore Gilbert’s actions like whites.I believe OJ was given the benefit of doubt by blacks not because they were sure he was innocent. But history has shown white police were willing to plant evidence on blacks to gain convictions for crimes they did not do. Just before OJ’s trial began, at least two police dept in different States were found guilty of planting and using false evidence against black defendants. Blacks probably view things like Lebron’s situation with a broader perspective than whites and are less likely to make quick judgements than whites. To those people who think blacks are stupid and will blindly follow someone for race, the same can be said for all those whites who voted for two dummies–McCain who graduated 5th from bottom of class at Naval Acad and Palin who took 6yrs to graduate from a4yr college–over Obama who graduated from Ivy League Schools, Columbia and Harvard Law Sch. Some whites argue that blacks voted for Obama simply because he was black, but more likely because he was the most qualified and also was black. Black people simply did not overreact to a meaningless incident like Lebron’s leaving Cleveland, most blacks think Cleveland is a hick town also and can see why he left or don’t care.
    PS. Never liked LeBron and still don’t but still was hoping he was going to the Bulls.

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