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franklin county times

Why is everybody upset about LeBron?

When I turned on the television Friday morning and when I listened to the radio on my drive to work I heard quite a bit of complaining about LeBron James’ decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat.

I understand fans are passionate about their team, but I do not understand the venom being directed towards James.

Many felt he should end his free agency with another stint in Cleveland and his decision to play elsewhere is the worst sin in the world.

James grew up a stone’s throw from Cleveland and the Cavaliers are considered his hometown team.

He has reversed the fortunes of that franchise by transforming it from a laughing stock to a contender. A few years ago he guided the team to the only NBA Finals appearance in its history.

He was treated like a god in Cleveland, now he is a pariah.

Minutes after James announced he was leaving for Miami the backlash began with fans burning his jersey and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert posting a letter to fans telling them, “You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.”

Cowardly betrayal?

As a free agent James has the right to pursue employment with any franchise that is willing to pay the salary he is requesting.

There is nothing cowardly about deciding to seek employment somewhere else — people like you and I do it all the time.

And what is this mess about betrayal?

LeBron does not owe the city of Cleveland or the Cavaliers organization anything beyond playing his best. He did that for seven years, fulfilling the obligation of both contracts he signed with the franchise.

People say he should be loyal to the organization, but athletes switch teams often in modern day sports.

Besides, how many times has a franchise released or traded a long-time player with ties to the community in order to bring in younger talent.

It is just part of the business. If it makes LeBron happy to play for Miami what right do people have to criticize him?