Los Angeles Lakers CEO Jeanie Buss shared a photo of a racist and misogynist letter she received recently telling her to "join Kobe Bryant." Buss shared the letter with everyone to show "the hate is real and living out there." Lakers star LeBron James stood by Buss, sharing her post on Instagram and adding "Love you Jeanie!!" and sending a middle-finger emoji to the letter's author.
In the letter, a man named Joe told Buss that after being a Lakers fan for 60 years, "I now say to hell with the overpaid n— traitors and the NBA. Go to hell and join Kobe Bryant." Buss blacked out a word before Bryant's name. In the caption, Buss asked the letter's author if this made him feel any better. "Really all you did was waste your time, and energy and your postage stamp," Buss wrote. "(But thank you for including your return home address.)"
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Buss asked Joe to look in the mirror "and see your ugliness" because she is ignoring it. Although she has received many letters like these in the past, Buss said she usually ignores them. She could do that no more and asked fans to acknowledge the racism that still exists in the U.S. and around the world. "On this day, Juneteenth, I ask my white friends to join together, acknowledge the racism that exists in our country and around the world, and pledge to stop ignoring it," Buss wrote. "We all must do better."
Although Buss closed the comment section on the post, James still shared it on his Instagram Story to show his support for Buss. He also posted his own message about Juneteenth, sharing the definition of Juneteenth. "My ultimate question is why isn't this date a NATIONAL HOLIDAY????" James wrote, adding the hashtag "Stay Woke."
The Lakers gave team staffers Friday off and issued a statement announcing plans to observe Juneteenth from now on. The team is "taking action to transform from a non-racist organization into an anti-racist organization," the team said. They hired Dr. Karida Brown as the new Director of Racial Equality & Action to help educate staffers on systemic racism and inspire them. They also established a Black Employee Resource Group to "empower our employees to participate in peer-to-peer training and monthly panel discussions." The Lakers also donated to More Than A Vote and is supporting youth organizations in Los Angeles.
Juneteenth 2020 is the 155th anniversary of the day the Emancipation Proclamation was put into effect in Texas, the last Confederate state were it was enforced. Although it is recognized in most states, activists have been calling for it to be made a national holiday for years. One Change.org petition to make it one has more than 649,000 signatures.