Houston Rockets guard James Harden has found himself in hot water on social media after a photo was posted of him wearing a “Thin Blue Line” face mask.
The “Thin Blue Line” masks are worn by people who are trying to express support for law enforcement, something that is now seen as controversial in our increasingly anti-police society.
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) July 17, 2020
It didn’t take long for Twitter to “cancel” Harden; anti-cop liberals were quick to bash him.
“This certified clown s***. I’ll say it for everybody who scared to. FOH,” one social media user commented, with another adding, “James Harden is a D*** SELL OUT for wearing a D*** MASK.”
This certified clown shit. I’ll say it for everybody who scared to. FOH https://t.co/pVRMaL9dPG
— Trey Songz (@TreySongz) July 17, 2020
Tomorrow on @undisputed: SKIP and I will talk about how James Harden is a DAMN SELL OUT for wearing a DAMN MASK.
James, you were a brotha! 🤦🏿♂️🤦🏿♂️🤦🏿♂️ https://t.co/llytpe2eJh
— Rev. $hannon Al $harpetongue (@SSharpetongue) July 17, 2020
NBA Twitter is going crazy after James Harden was spotted wearing a Thin Blue Line Mask pic.twitter.com/2h1aCCBK4c
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) July 17, 2020
Others, however, defended Harden. “It’s going to be great when ‘fans’ force James Harden and the Rockets to apologize because they didn’t realize this is a Blue Lives Matter bandana. But to disavow this mask will be proof that they hate police. Fun!” tweeted conservative commentator Mike Cernovich.
It's going to be great when "fans" force James Harden and the Rockets to apologize because they didn't realize this is a Blue Lives Matter bandana.
But to disavow this mask will be proof that they hate police.
— Cernovich (@Cernovich) July 17, 2020
Harden has since tried to distance himself from the mask, saying that he had not been trying to make a “political statement.”
“Honestly, I wasn’t trying to make a political statement,” Harden said, according to CNN. “I wore it because it covered my face, my beard. I thought it looked cool, that was it.”
James Harden: "It was just something that covered my whole beard. I thought it looked cool. That was it." Harden said he's in process of determining how he will voice his support for the Black Lives Matter while in NBA bubble, including whether he will have a message on jersey.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) July 17, 2020
Harden rarely speaks out about politics, but he did say on Thursday that the protests that came about after the death of George Floyd represented a “powerful” message.
“The way the city just like rallied, it was amazing. I think the world saw it,” he said. “The march and everything that we’re standing for is very powerful.”
James Harden was asked about George Floyd and being a part of Houston. pic.twitter.com/jTSUla7SsS
— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) July 17, 2020
In the wake of the death of Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota back in May, anti-cop sentiments have been at an all-time high in the United States. It’s unfortunate that simply wearing a mask that expresses support for the police officers that put their lives on the line for the rest of us every single day is now seen as a controversial “political” statement.