The Cincinnati-area bar owner who wants to ban LeBron James from the NBA has a new condition for connecting with him via the business’ website: you must affirm that you support law enforcement.
Jay Linneman, who owns Linnie’s Pub in Delhi Township, made waves in recent days with a Facebook post targeted at former Cleveland Cavaliers/current Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, who had been sharing his thoughts about police accountability through his own social media accounts.
“If anyone wants to watch an NBA game, don't come to Linnie's Pub. We will not air them until Lebron [sic] James has been expelled from the NBA,” Linneman had posted to his personal Facebook account, which is linked from his bar's website.
Linneman’s post, which was visible on Monday afternoon, now has either been deleted or set to private.
James responded on Twitter with a link to an MSN story about Linneman’s demand, saying “Aww Damn! I was headed there to watch our game tonight and have a drink! Welp.”
The exchanges have captured local and national media attention.
In a new development, the contact form on the Linnie’s Pub website now requires police support from anyone wanting to connect with Linneman.
Language at the top of the contact form reads, “Thanks for visiting Linnie’s Pub website. We welcome most comments or suggestions, but if you feel the need to use vile or threatening language, you can click and go here.”
The link directs users to hell.com, a very basic, rainbow-adorned site that poses questions to visitors such as "What happens to me in Hell?" and "Am I a sinner?"
At the bottom of the contact form for Linnie's Pub, additional language reads, “In order to reduce hateful, spiteful, racist comments please answer YES in the box below if you support and appreciate the efforts of our brave men and women of law enforcement.”
To send a message, users then must type “yes” in a box next to the statement, “YES, I support Law Enforcement!”
The whole story began when James originally shared a now-deleted tweet targeted at the Columbus police officer who last week allegedly shot and killed 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant.
Columbus police identified Nicholas Reardon, who is white, as the officer who allegedly shot and killed Bryant, who was Black, when responding to a 911 call about someone being threatened. Since the shooting, both police and bystanders have released recordings from around that time, which was shortly before a jury in Minneapolis found Derek Chauvin, another white (now-former) police officer, guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, who was Black.
“YOU'RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY,” James had tweeted with an alleged photo of Reardon shortly after news of the Columbus shooting began spreading.
James deleted that tweet soon after, tweeting Wednesday, “ANGER does (not do) any of us any good and that includes myself! Gathering all the facts and educating does though! My anger still is here for what happened that lil girl. My sympathy for her family and may justice prevail!”
“I’m so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police. I took the tweet down because its being used to create more hate -This isn’t about one officer. it’s about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism. I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY,” James continued in a separate tweet.
Police increasingly are under scrutiny for disproportionately lethal actions against Black people and members of other non-white communities.
Linneman, the Delhi bar owner, had posted several right-leaning, pro-police items in recent days, including a video by Candace Owens, a vocal Black supporter of former U.S. President Donald Trump who criticizes the Black Lives Matter movement and repeatedly peddles misinformation.
He also shared a video from Nate Silvester, an officer with the Marshal’s Office in Bellevue, Idaho, who creates pro-police content. In the video that Linneman had shared, Silvester sits in his squad car and asks an imaginary person outside the camera’s view to put down their knife. He then pretends that James is advising him on the phone based on the knife-wielder being Black or white.
By Tuesday morning, Linneman had either deleted all of these shared items from his Facebook page or set them to private, along with his demand for the NBA to "expel" James.
A 2003-2004 Upper Deck rookie card for James — a four-time NBA champion, successful businessman and developer of a STEM-based school for disadvantaged children in Akron, where he grew up — recently sold for $5.2 million.