FACT CHECK: Did LeBron James Wear A ‘We Die, Y’all Silent’ Shirt?
The text on the t-shirt has been digitally altered. The original image is from 2014 and shows James wearing a t-shirt with the text, “I Can’t Breathe” on it.
James, a forward for the Lakers, has been active in promoting social justice issues and has been described by NBC News as a “leading voice for social justice.” Recently, he retweeted on April 13 ESPN analyst Jalen Rose’s monologue about police brutality in the wake of the death of Daunte Wright, a black man shot and killed by a white police officer in Minnesota on April 11.
The image, which has been circulating Facebook since at least 2017, appears to show James wearing a black t-shirt reading, “We March, y’all mad. We sit, y’all mad. We speak up, y’all mad. We die, y’all silent.” One iteration of the picture has been shared over 16,000 times. (RELATED: Did LeBron James Wear A “Same Crime” Protest T-Shirt?)
Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact found that the original photo was taken in 2014 and actually shows James wearing a shirt with the phrase “I Can’t Breathe” in honor of Eric Garner, a black man who died in 2014 after being placed in a chokehold by a New York City police officer, according to the photo’s caption on Getty Images. “I can’t breathe” were the last words spoken by Garner before he died, ABC News reported.
James made national headlines for wearing the “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirt in 2014. Had he worn the shirt shown in the Facebook image during warmups, media outlets would have certainly reported on it, yet none have, except to debunk the claim.
This isn’t the first time James’ “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirt has been digitally altered to show a different phrase. Check Your Fact in 2019 debunked the claim that James wore a “Same Crime” shirt about inequalities in punishment in the criminal justice system.