A couple of thoughts:
1. In a country where 24 percent of the people think the president is a Muslim, and the same number believe he wasn't born in America, I don't see anything controversial with one of the three most famous athletes in this country responding to a direct question by stating that race, "at times," may have affected the judgment of certain people regarding him from afar. And you can't tell me there isn't, at the very least, something curious and worth exploring in the fact that even as LeBron's Q rating has plummeted, Brett Favre is still one of the most popular athletes in America.
2. Whitlock raises some good points here, most notably that LeBron has been mute on issues of race in the past. But maybe this is an opening. If LeBron is never going to win over the majority of the American public, if he's never going to become the worldwide brand that he imagined he could be, if he's now going to be branded as the cartoon villain, maybe this frees him up to become more outspoken. I can't imagine this ever happening. But at least it's interesting to imagine what would happen if it did.