Why Jesse Jackson is Wrong Bringing Race Into LeBron’s Decision

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“His feelings of betrayal personify a slave master mentality. He sees LeBron as a runaway slave. This is an owner employee relationship — between business partners — and LeBron honored his contract.” Jesse Jackson on Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert.

Racism exists.

It shouldn’t be ignored and when it presents itself, it should be acknowledged.

We have come a long way in race relations, but we still have a long way to go.  I still get funny looks in certain stores, people still lock car doors when I was walk by, people still tell me I “speak well” as if that is unusual for a black man in our society, and those are only a few things that I deal with on a daily basis.

That is why when someone brings race into a situation we shouldn’t take it lightly, because it is a serious issue, and if it is being used in non-serious situations it devalues the argument when it really applies.

When Jesse Jackson uses terms like “Slaves” and  “Slave Master” in regard to Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, it is the slap in the face of those who struggled to make it possible for a black man to sign a $100+ million contract.

The facts are clear.

Dan Gilbert owns the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James was his prized employee, and like many employees who excelled in what they do, LeBron was afforded certain privileges.  In return, he was paid handsomely and Gilbert reaped the benefits of that financially.

When LeBron’s contract was up he decided to take his “talents” elsewhere, and Gilbert, realizing the money he was about to lose, lashed out angrily (in creative font).  For seven years Gilbert gave his “employee” whatever he wanted and whatever his friends wanted.  He mistakenly thought those privileges bought him loyalty, but this is a “business” and there is no loyalty in business dealings.

Gilbert’s reactions are much more like a lover scorned than a “Slave Master.”

Last time I checked, slaves didn’t have options.  Slaves weren’t allowed to become “Free Agents.” Slaves didn’t get hourlong specials on ESPN.  Slaves didn’t make more money than some 3rd world countries.

Do you know what happened to “Runaway Slaves” if they got caught?  Let me just say they had to worry about more than an angry letter, some Delonte West jokes, and being booed at Carmelo’s wedding.

I understand Jackson is using the terms “slave” and “slave master mentality” as an analogy, but some words are not to be played with.

When Mel Gibson told his girlfriend she was dressed like she wanted to be raped by a “pack of n*ggers,” he was using an analogy, too.

Some words carry more power than others, so you need to be careful when you leisurely throw them around.  There is a big difference between a “pack of n*ggers” and a “pack of thugs,” and “Slaves” and “Employees”.

LeBron James is a basketball player.

To even compare him to a slave is ignorant, self serving, and blasphemous on Jesse Jackson’s part.  As a person who was right in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement, to even interject himself in a discussion about NBA Free Agency is just attention whoring at the highest level.

This so-called “slave” had billionaire owners coming to his “house” to present their “partnership offers.” The pitch to this so-called “slave” had more to do with business than basketball.  When this so-called “slave” was too busy to meet with the so-called “slave masters” of the NBA, he dismissed them and let them talk to his crew.  Billboards, videos, Powerpoints, lapdances … all were thrown at the feet of this so-called “slave.” This so-called “slave” controlled and manipulated the entire free agent process like a King on his Throne, to the point that millions tuned in to an hourlong “Decision” that was produced worse than “Cool as Ice.”

So excuse me if I am not crying “Tebow Tears” or using pathetic analogies for attention like Jesse Jackson, because Dan Gilbert wrote a “Single White Female” letter (no pun intended).

When we have people getting less time for killing unarmed black men than a black man shooting himself, I think Jesse’s time and energy can be spent better.

As I said on Twitter, the only color Dan Gilbert is concerned with is “Green,” and by trying to make it a black and white issue it only takes our focus away from the real problems in the black community.  Problems that go far beyond a billionaire’s lover’s quarrel with his former millionaire employee.

If Slaves only had it so lucky.

38 COMMENTS

  1. Rob.

    I hate to say this but this article smells like opportunism.

    It reads, and sounds to me like the writer is trying to earn brownie points from the mainstream media over a controversial issue.

    Whitlock does this ALL the time….Robert….no so much. The wording of the article and the wording of the responses to the comments make it obvious that Rob is not writing this for his core audience in mind.

    I borrowed the 40 millon dollar slave book from the library after a guest on the (now defunct) Stephen A. Smith show made reference to it. Perhaps he was the author himself… a man from Detroit with the worst mustache trim EVER….

    the title comes from a fan yelling at Larry Johnson during a basketball game…the YEAR after the Knicks made their playoff run in the lockout year, If you recall…LJ said the knicks were just a "bunch of runaway slaves" making reference to how improbable the playoff run had been and was and how they were going ALL out.

    Kamal is on point about slavery….after legalized slavery….the plantation owners used neo slavery aka sharecropping to get their crops planted and harvested….

  2. Question: We're saying sports in general are equivalent to slavery, right? So, this would include sports like baseball, where white people dominate the sport (minus latinos)?

    I've worked in sports in the public schools and collegiate level. We train athletes from the time they are born in most instances….run, jump, shoot, hit, dive, skate, leap, etc. True, athletes ARE used to benefit the program for which they work for. I know of plenty jr. high schools, high schools, AAU teams, and colleges who illegally recruit players in ALL sports because a particular player has the potential to greatly benefit a team and bring money to that organization. Students are passed along throughout their educational matriculation simply because of their athletic ability, until one day they make a billion dollars and can't do "reading, writing, and arithmetic".

    LBJ and the crew did what I've taught my athletes to do since they were tots….People are going to squeeze out of you everything they can possibly get, while they are reaping from you, be sure to reap from them.

    The system is not set up for the athletes to gain the most money, etc, but the system can be used to gain a "free" education that one may not be able to otherwise afford, and/or to become better financially situated.

    So, were the comments rude…yes. Are there undertones of racism…maybe, possibly. Does it happen in all areas of sports AND entertainment…definitely.

  3. All employers think they own their employees just like Jason Whitlock said. That is just a fact.

    Gilbert-Leborn James is a employer-employee relationship. Most employees give notice when they leave a job. Lebron James never even called his employer personally to tell him he was leaving. By the way “The Decision” put the Cavs in a hole because it didn’t allow them to go after other big free agents after Lebron left. Which any owner would be mad about… Michael Jordan would be mad if a player from the Charlotte Bobcats did the same thing to him. Cuban would have been mad at Dirk if he had done the same to him. Would Jackson had made the same comments in either of those situations?

    Kamala Jones… You make it sound like any black person that is paid for providing skilled labor is a slave. That it doesn’t matter if they make a few dollars or a few million dollars. So pretty much anyone that has a job is a slave then? What exactly is Lebron James trying to buy his way out of? Cleveland?

  4. Bangkok is the capital of the smiling country. I do like going here once a year. I usually stay three days in Bangkok. Have visited the floating market a couple of times. And MBK numerous amount of times.

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