Parliament's new Speaker Trevor Mallard has weighed in on a political controversy involving LeBron James and Fox News host Laura Ingraham.
Mallard called into the D'Arcy and Goran show on Radio Sport this evening to stick up for James, who was told by Ingraham to 'shut up and dribble' after he dared to talk politics in an interview with ESPN.
"People have the right to express their view, people have to take it at face value and I'd maybe even take it a bit further and say sometimes if people are film stars or sport players they shouldn't hold back if they can cause a decent discussion to happen around an issue then that's a good thing," Mallard told Radio Sport.
"Clearly some of these people make us feel quite uncomfortable sometimes, but that's ok. That's how we develop as a society, otherwise we'd still be living in cages. If people don't discuss ideas and develop new ones and compromise then we'd all still be cave men."
Mallard has held various Ministerial Portfolios including Education and State Services (1999-2005) Sport (1999-2007) and Associate Finance (1999-2008).
Ingraham's comments from her show Thursday night caught fire on social media as the clip of her taking James and Durant to task for comments they made during a wide-ranging conversation with ESPN's Cari Champion for James's media company, "Uninterrupted."
"Must they run their mouths like that? Unfortunately, a lot of kids - and some adults - take these ignorant comments seriously," Ingraham said on her show Thursday night. "And it's always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid a hundred million dollars a year to bounce a ball."
James was later asked if he thought her comments were racist. And while he didn't answer directly either way, he did point to Fox News' track record on the subject of race.
"I mean, listen, race is a part of our country, we know that," he said. "I think the engine that she sits behind doesn't have a great rap sheet when it comes to race in our country, and things of that nature. There's been many people that's not African-American that spoke upon the same issues I spoke upon, and they didn't say anything to them. You can look at it as being racist or you can look at it as saying racial tension, which we already know that. That goes without saying. I don't think we're sitting here saying, 'Oh, she's racist.' Or, 'That's racial tension. I'm surprised.'
"We know what's going on, and I'm just trying to shed a greater light and a positive light on the bad aura or the energy that some of the people are trying to give to the people of America and to the world. I'm not the negative side. Me having this platform, I'm just trying to shed a positive light on what I feel like is right. Am I always right? Can I have everybody follow me? I don't think so. But I feel what's right. I'm looking at my boys right here, teaching them what's right and what's wrong, and we'll see what happens after that."