I’ve had about 10 days to absorb the soap opera that was the LeBron James Free Agency Courting and what’s happened in the wake of LeBron joining a hoops trinity in South Beach.
DONE. Not so fast.
Problem is politics and the race card had to get involved in the soap opera.
I’ll say it again, I hate it when sports and politics intersect because there’s no place for it. When it does, I have to comment on it because it’s so insulting, divisive and demeaning, especially when the premise is so wrong.
The Reverend Jesse Jackson just couldn’t resist to weigh in on LeBron James leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh with the Miami Heat and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert’s subsequent email tirade to fans on the Cavaliers web page.
The civil rights activist and former presidential candidate answered with his own letter working the race card accusing Gilbert of being a racist in the entire ordeal. Jackson said this, and I quote:
“He speaks as an owner of LeBron and not the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers. 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. LeBron is not a child, nor is he bound to play on Gilbert’s plantation and be demeaned.”
Jackson’s statement demeans the atrocities slaves in America endured at the hands of their African captors and American masters. Slaves didn’t sign seven-year, guaranteed $100 million contracts and multi-million dollar endorsement deals to pick cotton. The “swoosh” slaves wore were from being whipped to the brink, not a Nike endorsement deal. The brand burned in their skin wasn’t an NBA logo, but a crest identifying which family owned them.If you ask me, it’s a racist remark. Coming from Jackson, that’s “reverse racism.” Either way, it’s racism.
Look. What Gilbert posted after LeBron’s “ESPN Decision Special” went a bit overboard. That’s obvious. His anger towards LeBron was obviously because he and the Cavalier fans weren’t given the courtesy of being informed of LeBron’s decision prior to the “primetime fiasco” which would’ve saved Northeast Ohio from an embarrassing National Television “Slap in the Face” if you will.
NBA commissioner David Stern fined Gilbert $100,000 for the tirade calling it “ill-advised” which it was. He did say he understood why it was said and explained after defending LeBron’s rights as the free agent he was.
“Had he (LeBron) asked my advice in advance, I might have suggested that he advise Cleveland at an earlier time than apparently he did that he was leaving, even without announcing where he was going, so we could have eliminated that. I would have advised him not to embark on what has been come known as ‘The Decision.’ I think that the advice that he received on this was poor. This “Decision” was ill-conceived, badly produced and poorly executed.”
Jackson’s rhetoric towards Gilbert is wrong and totally unnecessary. It almost seems as if he’s trying to stay relevant by using words that personified a time and place that occurred almost half a century ago.
Jackson’s relevance in the Civil Rights Movement working alongside Andrew Young and the great Martin Luther King Jr. to change this country solidifies a legacy that helped elect a person of color in the White House.
When it comes to billionaire LeBron’s free agency soap opera, Jackson’s irrelevant. To compare it to slavery is an insult to those who were enslaved. It’s a disgrace and shameful to compare the two. Jackson should know better.
Enough is enough!