NBA superstar LeBron James shared his thoughts on the Houston Astros cheating scandal and the impact it’s having on the MLB players.
LeBron James speaks and people tend to listen, regardless of the topic.
So when the 35-year-old took to social media on Tuesday to share how he’d feel should someone attempt to cheat him out of a trophy, the Astros cheating was once again going to dominate headlines.
James said, in part: “I know if someone cheated me out of winning the title and I found out about it I would be F*^king irate!” He also suggested that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred listen to the outrage coming from his players.
For baseball, and more specifically Manfred, it has been a rough first week of spring training. From the Astros’ non-apologies, to his own press conferences, there have been headlines reminding everyone that he did not punish players, that the maximum fine he could issue the Astros was $5 million, or that he isn’t 100 percent certain that players weren’t using buzzers while hitting.
Oh, and he also referred to the World Series trophy as a “piece of metal”, which he later apologized for.
It’s clear that Manfred, a man who was hired more or less to help the MLB owners win the CBA negotiations back in 2015, hasn’t handled the Astros scandal sufficiently for players or the public. And while Manfred continues to defend his decisions, players haven’t backed down from challenging the MLB commissioner and his head-scratching reasons for his light punishments.
So LeBron chiming in here is huge, not only because he is a staple in culture and his voice carries weight, but just because this scandal needs to continue to be talked about. Manfred and the MLB are hoping issues like players and teams cheating or MiLB players not being paid a living wage would be drowned out by actual baseball games at spring training.
Adding more voices to the conversation, especially someone like LeBron who’s been one of the faces of the “player empowerment” movement in the NBA over the last decade, only strengths the voice of MLB players.
Baseball is heading into a nasty Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiation in 2021 and after being fleeced by Manfred in 2015, the Players’ Association would be smart to continue to collect more quotes from Manfred and keep the conversation going — especially if he’s going to constantly shoot himself in the foot.
With an issue like cheating, it not only impacts the outcome of a championship in the history books but the Astros scandal has cost people their jobs, money they rightfully earned, and the pride of achieving career goals. As players inside the game and those like LeBron have spoken up, it has shown that no matter what Manfred says — the punishment didn’t fit the crime.