10.29.2011

Interesting Perspective: 'Massa' David Stern & the NBA 'Plantation'

(FinalCall.com) Black sports commentator Bryant Gumbel has endured some curiously harsh criticism for his scathing analysis of how National Basketball Association (NBA) commissioner David Stern runs his business.

Mr. Gumbel said that Mr. Stern seemed “hellbent” on “demeaning the players” and that he “has always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer, treating NBA men as if they were his boys.” Mr. Gumbel observed a pattern in Mr.Stern's behavior that he said was “part of Stern's M.O., like his past self-serving edicts on dress code and the questioning of officials. His moves were intended to do little more than show how he's the one keeping the hired hands in their place.”

Mr. Gumbel's comments sparked a kind of disappointed outrage among his White colleagues in the sportscasting industry. They were offended that he would impudently reach back into the distant, ugly American past to find a racial analogy to the way the NBA operates today. But in actuality the comparison between the business of today's sports industry and the business of yesterday's plantation slavery is hard to ignore. Indeed, there are many parallels between the two:

Mr. Gumbel is not the first to draw the comparison. By his very behavior, the condescending White Jewish owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Dan Gilbert, assumed his natural role as a plantation master. When his superstar “slave” LeBron James chose to leave his place of employment, Gilbert was a hair's-breadth away from calling out the bloodhounds. He called James' move a “cowardly betrayal” and a “shameful display of selfishness.” Gilbert threatened: “Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.” “This shocking act of disloyalty [is a] heartless and callous action.” Gilbert went on to actually “curse” the beloved Black multi-millionaire, even casting upon him a “dreaded spell and bad karma.”

What other job have you left and your former boss speaks to you like that?! But whom is he trying to fool? Dan Gilbert bought the team in 2005 for $375 million. And with LeBron on the Gilbert plantation it was estimated to be worth $476 million. Without LeBron (the man Jesse Jackson referred to as Gilbert's “runaway slave”) the Gilberts will be “cursed” with many fewer millions.

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