The UFC’s Colby Covington took a jab at LeBron James on Wednesday after a video surfaced of the Los Angeles Lakers’ star not standing during the national anthem.
James attended a USC Trojans basketball game last Sunday to support his son, Bronny James, in his collegiate debut.
However, James received widespread attention when he walked into the Galen Center and immediately sat down while the national anthem played.
A 34-second clip of the power forward taking a seat courtside, while players and fans in the stands stood in respect for the nation, went viral with more than 6.8 million views.
LeBron James casually walks into the basketball arena while the National Anthem is playing and takes a seat.
Zero respect for the country that gave him the opportunity to be a basketball star.
Zero respect for the country that allowed him to become a billionaire.
Zero respect… pic.twitter.com/NaTmdeOabx
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) December 13, 2023
James received widespread criticism from internet pundits for the move.
“LeBron James casually walks into the basketball arena while the National Anthem is playing and takes a seat,” conservative Collin Rugg commented on the video.
“Zero respect for the country that gave him the opportunity to be a basketball star,” he added.
“Zero respect for the country that allowed him to become a billionaire. Zero respect for the men and women who defend our country so he can live his life. Shameful.”
In a follow up post, Rugg pointed out that James had previously said that he would “understand” if WNBA player Brittney Griner didn’t want to come back to the United States while she was being detained by Russia.
Griner was arrested for smuggling has oil into the country through her luggage in February 2022 and pleaded guilty to the charges and sentenced to nine years in a Russian penal colony.
James made the remarks in July of the same year, when he felt that the Biden administration wasn’t working hard enough to ensure her return to the US.
“Now, how can she feel like America has her back?” James said on HBO’s “The Shop: Uninterrupted.”
“I would be feeling like, ‘Do I even want to go back to America?’” he added.
Griner was eventually freed from the Gulag after the White House traded her for convicted arms trader Viktor Bout in a prisoner swap.
COLBY COVINGTON: “F*ck you LeBron James… you’re a spineless coward and you’re a b*tch”
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) December 14, 2023
During a press conference for UFC 296, Covington took a verbal swing at James in front of cameras.
“F*** LeBron James. If you hate America so much and you don’t like this country that gave you a billion dollars, leave it or come deal with me,” he remarked.
“You go to China, go to these sweat shops that you employ all these laborers and use these women and pay them pennies on the dollar to make your millions,” the 17-3-0 fighter added.
“F*** you, LeBron James. You’re a coward. You’re a spineless coward, and you’re a b**ch.”
Covington made the commentary while he was promoting his Saturday night fight against UFC Welterweight Champion Leon Edwards.
The challenger appeared at the event wearing a suit jacket that left no doubt about who he’s backing in the 2024 presidential election.
Covington wore the white and red trimmed jacket, which had former President Donald Trump’s signature on the front left pocket and his campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” on the sleeves, without a shirt.
When a reporter asked about the “backstory” of the suit, the fighter gleefully showed off the back of the jacket, which had Trump’s mugshot in red, white, and blue.
Covington said that the ex-president’s “unlawful indictment” was a “joke,” while he had his back turned.
“I can’t believe they’re using the Justice Department against [Trump],” he remarked while turning back around.
“Do you guys realize how corrupt this system is right now? They’re weaponizing the justice system, the DOJ — it’s political persecution,” the Southpaw stated.
Covington said that liberal politicians are “scared” of Trump, because they know he’s the “greatest threat to the swamp.”
“He stands for democracy, and they don’t like that. There’s a bunch of communist people running this country right now, and we need to get them out,” he continued.
“Our borders are wide open, inflation is higher than it’s ever been. Our streets are burning, and we’re sending money to Ukraine? For what?” Covington questioned.
He questioned “what happened to America first,” and noted that is precisely what Trump “stands for.”
“Right now it’s America last. We need to make America great again, 2024 is our last chance,” he concluded.
“If Donald Trump doesn’t get back in office, this country is done.”