BBC Confused Kobe Bryant with LeBron James — Is Lack of Diversity in Newsrooms to Blame?
The BBC has apologized for using footage of LeBron James during a news piece paying tribute to the late NBA legend Kobe Bryant.
The broadcaster admitted “human error” was to blame for the footage of Bryant’s fellow team member LeBron James being broadcast on BBC One’s 10 o’clock news show on Sunday night.
While using footage of LeBron James playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, a voiceover listed the sports achievements of Kobe Bryant, highlighting that he was disappointed when injuries stopped his playing career.
The NBA legend and an Olympic gold medalist, Kobe Bryant passed away in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday morning, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people.
British politician David Lammy was among the first to criticize the national public broadcaster for their error. In an interview with Newsweek, Lammy admitted that BBC would have never made a similar mistake for a white athlete.
According to Lammy, confusing Kobe Bryant and LeBron James in such a tragic context was” deeply disrespectful.” They do not even look alike, Lammy added, saying it was like confusing David Beckham with Wayne Rooney. The Labor Party politician also opined that the BBC should hire more black producers and editors to make sure that such mistakes never happen again.
The BBC got a wave of massive criticism on social media too. Sports journalist Richard Lewis did not hide his disappointment by the BBC in an emotional tweet, saying that he was ashamed of his profession today. He suggested that checking the name of the back of the jersey was not so difficult.
Bryant, 41, the 18-time All-Star who won five NBA championships during his 20-year career all with the Los Angeles Lakers, died in a helicopter crash in the hills above Calabasas, California.
According to Justin Green, a New York aviation attorney who flew helicopters in the Marine Corps, the foggy weather has probably contributed to the crash. Pilots can become disoriented in lousy weather, Green said, adding that the pilot flying such an S-76 could fly it without relying on visual cues from outside.
The basketball legend used to live in Orange County and often used helicopters to avoid the notorious traffic in Los Angeles. He reportedly traveled to practices and games by helicopter before he stopped playing professionally in 2016.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with the statement of the British politician David Lammy that the lack of diversity in the BBC newsroom is to blame for the mistake?