Home Business Sports Authority founder sounds off on LeBron James, mixing sports with politics

Sports Authority founder sounds off on LeBron James, mixing sports with politics

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The founder of Sports Authority says he’s dismayed by athletes who are mixing politics with sports — and said he would demote their products if he were still in charge.

“If I had Sports Authority, I’d take the LeBron [Nike] shoes and put them on the back shelf,” said Jack Smith, who resigned from the company in 1998.

“I think it was stupid what the Mets and Marlins did,” he added. “I don’t know what they were trying to prove,” Smith said.

Smith, who started Sports Authority in 1987 with backing from former Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney, made the comments in an interview about a Zucker Lewis Media Group documentary in the works about his life.

James recently led the charge of high-profile athletes sharing their outrage online over the death of George Floyd, whose May death at the hands of police kicked off nationwide protests.

On Aug. 27, the players for the New York Mets and Miami Marlins baseball teams bowed their heads ahead of a scheduled to protest the Kenosha, Wis., police shooting of Jacob Blake Jr. before heading to the dugouts and never returning to play the game.

Sports Authority grew to have 450 stores in 45 states after it became a public company in 1998 — and its original investors make almost 10 times their money.

The chain liquidated in 2016 amid a mountain of debt it taken on to support a leveraged buyout.

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