NBA superstar LeBron James defended Goodyear Tires, which is headquartered in his hometown Akron, after President Trump called for a boycott when leaked company training material banned MAGA apparel.
James told reporters Thursday, “Not only has Goodyear been great for my city, for the history of my city, but the country and what they represented. It’s an unbelievable brand, unbelievable history.”
Lakers’ LeBron James on President Trump’s call for Goodyear boycott: “I know my people of Akron and what Goodyear means to our city. One thing about us, we don’t bend, fold or break for nobody. Shout out and salute to all the workers.” pic.twitter.com/7h9MJBYoYF
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) August 21, 2020
A slide from Goodyear Tire’s employee training was leaked on Tuesday.
A slide has been leaked from the Goodyear (which loves selling tires to police officers) telling workers what they can and can't support – and it's unbelievable.https://t.co/rv43Rnn7Ag
— LawEnforcementToday (@LawEnforceToday) August 19, 2020
On Wednesday, President Trump called for a boycott of the brand. “Get better tires for far less!”
An hour later, Goodyear tried to provide some context to the slide.
Yesterday, Goodyear became the focus of a conversation that created some misconceptions about our policies and our company. Goodyear has always wholeheartedly supported both equality and law enforcement and will continue to do so. pic.twitter.com/oO6jUg2rTR
— Goodyear (@goodyear) August 19, 2020
Later an audio file revealed the training speaker said this: “If any associate wears all, blue, white lives matter shirts or face coverings, that will be not appropriate.”
CONTROVERSIAL GOODYEAR AUDIO: New audio reveals why Topeka Goodyear said All Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter and MAGA attire are unacceptable. pic.twitter.com/5MNo2EAH3w
— NBC15 News (@nbc15_madison) August 20, 2020
Goodyear’s second statement
The company released another statement that the slide does not represent Goodyear’s official corporate stance, and it was created by an employee to explain acceptable workplace wear. “We have clarified our policy to make it clear associates can express support for law enforcement through apparel at Goodyear facilities.”
A message from Rich Kramer: By now, you are aware of a visual from our Topeka factory that has been circulating in the media. I want to personally clear the record on what you are seeing and hearing. pic.twitter.com/UqqFeFQn6t
— Goodyear (@goodyear) August 20, 2020
The President’s reply
In a press conference, President Trump said the company was playing politics, “there’s something wrong with the top of Goodyear.” He continued on to say he would swap out the tires on his presidential limousine, “based on what I’ve heard.”
Shares of Goodyear have tumbled since the boycott.