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"People die in wars. They rarely die playing the games you play"

Joseph Schwerdt wrote those words and quite a few more to Lebron James when James tweeted something about refocusing, about having no friends except his fellow soldiers when he's at war.  That didn't sit well with Mr. Schwerdt.  At all:

Dear LeBron,

Just wanted to let you know: You are not at war. You are not a soldier.

What was said on your KingJames Twitter post?

"20+ games left in phase 2. I'm ReFOCUSED! No prisoners, I have no friends when at WAR besides my Soldiers."

You can tweet it all you want. But what you do and who you are is not even close to what they do and who they are.

You are probably a nice guy. And you are not the first athlete to compare sports to war; athletes to warriors; games to battle. I don't mean to single you out. But it is time to stop those comparisons.

War. Games. Not even close.

We are at war. Remember?

People die in wars. They rarely die playing the games you play. If they do, it is not because they are attacked or shot at or booby trapped by an enemy.

People lose limbs in war. Their bodies are torn apart by IEDs. Their legs and arms are ripped through by bullets and rockets.

You play in arenas in front of adoring fans. You don't walk streets in villages not knowing who the enemy is or what might be lurking on a roadside, around a corner or behind a door.

Athletes get concussions, serious business for sure. But soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen get post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries. They lose their sight and their hearing in bomb blasts.

You travel to your games in the comfort of a chartered plane. You go home to an opulent mansion. You have little danger of coming home in a flag-draped box.

You carry a basketball, not a 50-pound backpack and a rifle. You wear sneakers, not boots. You wear a jersey, not a Kevlar vest.

In Afghanistan right now, soldiers and Marines are sleeping in bedrolls outside in the cold. They cook over an open flame. Think of that the next time you load up at the clubhouse buffet.

You chose to take your talents to South Beach. They chose to defend this country. We all make choices. Please choose not to compare yourself to a soldier or a Marine. Please choose not to say what you do is war or battle. It simply isn't.

I know you meant no disrespect to our fighting forces. But it is disrespectful. It underscores how little we know about what our service personnel go through and how much they and their families sacrifice.

Can't we remember that we are at war? That our men and women are dying? I often can think about nothing else.

I have two sons in the United States Marine Corps. One is in Afghanistan as I write this. He is in harm's way every day. Please pray that he comes home in one piece.

He is at war. You are not.

My other son is in the Marine reserves. Please pray he does not get deployed and put in danger. Then he'll be at war. You won't.

My brother served in Vietnam. Eighteen months. He came home, but many others didn't. He came home intact. Unfortunately, so are his memories.

He was at war. You never were.

My uncle died in World War II. His body was torn open during an attack on PT 154 near the Solomon Islands on the night of Nov. 13, 1943.

He died in battle. A basketball game is not a battle. It's a game.

His twin brother was captured around the same time after his plane was shot down over Germany. Years lost as a prisoner of war. Think of that the next time you consider taking no prisoners on the basketball court.

I just wanted to let you know. Not the same. Not even close.

Over the top?  Or right on the money?

Let us know in the comments.

H/T Big Peace.


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Comments (19)

Over sensitive over reactio... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Over sensitive over reaction. Like a lot of lefties here he needs to understand what a metaphor is and stop being so thin skinned.

Nailed it.... (Below threshold)

Nailed it.

jim m is completely right. ... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

jim m is completely right. This is an overreaction to a metaphor that's used day in and day out in sports. Completely over the top.

Right on the money.<p... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Right on the money.

LeBron James is a mutant who throws a ball through a ring. Some people find mutants throwing balls through rings entertaining.

If basketball hadn't been invented, what would LeBron James be doing for a living, exactly?

To seriously compare throwing a ball through a ring to warfare is obscene.

A modest proposal, that wou... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

A modest proposal, that would make LeBron James look like less of a self-regarding asshole: we take a leaf from the Mayans, and execute all the members of the losing team.

Then we're talking equivalence. Not before.

Let me provide some context... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Let me provide some context for my comments.

Shortly before my father died, he and I were going through a box of his photographs, which I'd wanted to do before he died. My father had been in the Fourth Marine Division, in combat on Iwo Jima, Saipan, and Tinian, among other places, and had won a battlefield commission. It was hard to get him to talk about any of this, but on this day, prompted by the photos, I managed to draw him out.

Going through his photos, I'd hand him one. He'd say matter-of-factly, "Oh, that's X. He lost a leg on Iwo." On being handed another, he'd say, "Oh yeah, that's Y. He lost an arm on Saipan." And another, "Yep, he was killed on Iwo." And another, "I remember him. A mortar round landed right in his foxhole. We never found anything of him."

I saw a photo of about 40 guys sitting on bleachers, and asked him if that was their football team (because it was about the right number of guys). He replied that, no, that was the survivors of his company after Iwo Jima. I asked him how many men had been in his company.


So fuck LeBron James.

While I think that he meant... (Below threshold)

While I think that he meant it as just a metaphor, even within the context of being that metaphor, it is over the top. It is certainly important for him to do well and for his team to win but it is just basketball.

This is not the first time ... (Below threshold)

This is not the first time the sports is war metaphor has been used, and it goes over like a lead balloon to many.

However I wouldn't be so vitriolic. We use the words battle, surrender, and so on in sports, business and politics, and even medicine. I think they're inappropriately hyperbolic. War on cancer, for example.

What hurts, for commentors as above, is when they are used in a manner to suggest the users have some sort of kindred bravery and honor of warriors compared to true battle veterans. Most veterans go out of their way to avoid discussing their exploits. LeBron would shrivel and blow away if he attempted such a feat.

As a combat vet I have to s... (Below threshold)

As a combat vet I have to say these comparisons have always bothered me.

While it's just a metaphor it illustrates a deeper issue within our society. Gone are the days of understatement, being humble, and letting ones actions speak. No, instead today we live in an era of superlatives, hype, and braggadocio. Me, me, me.

It's a matter of respect. Respect for those who willingly give for all of us and ask little in return. The least the privileged in our society can do is pay a little deference to them by not using the war metaphor.

How about, "I get to make a shitload of money playing a game with my friends". Sounds a little more accurate.

And, oh yeah. How about sending a check to the Wounded Warrior Project or the Fisher House when you're games over.

Guy's under a lot of stress... (Below threshold)

Guy's under a lot of stress, three sons in the USMC, one in Afghanistan.

Chico Said, "Guy's under a ... (Below threshold)

Chico Said, "Guy's under a lot of stress, three sons in the USMC, one in Afghanistan."

As usual, reading comprehension is not Chico's strong suit.

"I have two sons in the United States Marine Corps. One is in Afghanistan as I write this."

Ooooh, Eric, you got me. Y... (Below threshold)

Ooooh, Eric, you got me. You must be proud of yourself. I read it quickly and thought he had two sons on active duty and one in the reserves.

I guess that means my point is bullshit, he's not under stress because he's only got two kids in the USMC.

Lebron. KingJames<br... (Below threshold)

No prisoners
No friends but my solidiers.
It was 100% arrogant and self granulizing.
When your a service member friend and family take on a new meaning.
Focusing is coping mechanism to deal with the horrors and no prisoners will get you poped tall before the UCMJ.

The response was in keeping with the level of the comment share stupidity.
I would just ask all these athletes to thank those in combat and those who support them for there real service.

I lived in NJ a good part of my life, but I am a Cowboys fan because ax an ogrination they do things for the troops.

Arrogant, self-absorbed, mu... (Below threshold)

Arrogant, self-absorbed, multi-million dollar athletes need "refocused" back to earth from time to time.

A little overreaction to a ... (Below threshold)

A little overreaction to a metaphor.

On a serious note, Mr. Schwerdt, the word Sailor is captialized, just like Marine. I am sure Soldier is too, but I am not in the Army and can speak for them.

Chico,There are TH... (Below threshold)


There are THREE types of people in this world. Those who can count and those who can't. :)

"A little overreaction to a... (Below threshold)

"A little overreaction to a metaphor"

Let me guess, you've never served....

He visit VA Hospital.... (Below threshold)
A Vet:

He visit VA Hospital.

ODA315,Have served... (Below threshold)


Have served for 22 years and currently am serving. Been in Desert Storm, Afganistan, and Iraq II. And you?







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