Fox News host Laura Ingraham recently called out Lebron James for comments made during an online interview with UNINTERRUPTED, in which the NBA superstar criticized President Trump. On her show, the Ingraham Angle, the host took issue with the comments, stating it’s “always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball” and that James should “shut up and dribble.”

It is not the first time Ingraham has used her “shut up” comments in reference to celebrities voicing political or cultural concerns. She authored a 2003 book titled, “Shut Up and Sing,” which criticized, among others, the Dixie Chicks for their outspoken views on George W. Bush. She has also called out late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, stating “shut up and make us laugh once in a while” and said Robert DeNiro should “shut up and act.”

Ingraham used these prior instances as evidence that her comments had nothing to do with race. While this seems to be the case, her frequent use of the shut up command is absolutely her go-to for discrediting anyone who has an opinion that differs from her own.

We would be far better, it seems, to only listen to political and cultural views from vapid, talking heads, such as herself.

Perhaps the greatest aspect of American society, no matter the climate of any political, cultural or societal issue, is that we are all entitled to our own opinion. And that right comes regardless of our profession.

Ingraham discredits James’ comments because he is an NBA player. But should her views hold more weight than say, a nurse, truck driver, accountant or professional athlete?

We all want our political views judged on the content of our character, our beliefs and the validity of our stances and opinions. You certainly would not want your opinions dismissed simply because of your profession like Ingraham has done with James.

And lest we forget, in the film James made the comments, the interviewer states “We cannot deny we are very divided in the political arena.” She then askes James and Kevin Durant “How do you describe the climate for athletes who want to talk about what’s happening in our world?”

So, James gave his opinion. But because it criticized President Trump, the Fox News host told him to shut up.

I can agree with the sentiment that I do not turn on sports to view social or political commentary. When I turn on an NBA game, or a contest in any other sport for that matter, I want to watch the competition and couldn’t care less about any of the athlete’s political stances. I care about their athletic skill, how they handle a last-second shot, their stingy defense or unstoppable offense.

Unlike Ingraham, I don’t believe they should shut up. If an athlete chooses to voice opinions in the realm of politics, it is their prerogative, whether it aligns or differs from your own.

Ingraham’s comment is exemplary of the current political climate. There is no discussion, no debate and no compromise. Either parties agree or they tell the other to shut up.

And the James and Ingraham incident furthers that divide.

If you want to discuss politics or culture, by all means do so. Whether it is simply stating an opinion, having a calm debate, or hell, even a raucous debate, you should. But do more than spew off your own stances, actually listen.

Certainly never tell the other party to shut up simply because you don’t agree.

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