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. Rev. Jackson IS NOT the first person to compare Black pro athletes to enslaved Africans. There's the book, Forty Million Dollar Slaves by William Rhoden, the saying the ball field is close to the cotton field coined by Dr. Claud Anderson, and the comparison between the NFL Combine where Black men are paraded in tights in front of NFL team scouts and they are pushed and proded and subject to intelligence tests (the Wonderlic exam) and the slave auction market.

    It's the ownership/paternalism that drips from Gilbert's letter. And, unfortunately many whites have this same attitude regarding Black people. LeBron fulfilled his contractual obligations to the Cavs and he decided to move on. End of story.

    I believe the Cavs were valued either at $125 million or $175 million before LeBron and after LeBron the Cavs are worth around $400 million. Ok, who got over on who? The Cavs didn't pay LeBron over $200 million. No, that money is in Gilbert's pockets.

    And, people either forget or don't know that Rev. Jackson was a part of the first wave of Black athletes to play sports (in his case football) at a majority white institution, the University of Illinois. Rev. Jackson would later leave the University of Illinois and transfer to North Carolina A & T. Rev. Jackson has said in the past that he and the other Black athletes at the University of Illinois were no more than beasts of burden to the school as they were segregated and forbidden from participating in many school activities. So, Rev. Jackson isn't just speaking of what he's heard but what he knows.

    • A- all players are subject to the Wonderlic test and everything at the combine doesn't matter if they are black, white, green or yellow. Tim Tebow was most dissected NFL Player this year and last time I checked he was white.

      B- Gilbert's letter dripped of someone who was about to lose a lot of money not of a racist.

      C- What Jesse Jackson did in past has no relevance to what he said today.

      • Just because he was about to loose a lot of money doen't mean he wasn't a racist. Many rich are rasist. But do you honestly believe that he would say all those things if lets say it was Larry Bird. You are a fool to believe that race is not a factor. And when it comes to the combine 90% looks like me. It has a feel of a slave trading station. If you argue that then you are a fool. It's all about the Green but when that is out the way watch out Black.

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