Tuesday, July 13, 2010


If there's any real leadership in the 21st century American civil rights movement, they'll come down like a ton of bricks on Jesse Jackson for his incendiary take on Lebron James - or more specifically, on Cleveland Cavaliers' owner Dan Gilbert's reaction to losing James. Gilbert's tirade after James left Cleveland to sign as a free agent with Miami was petty, mean-spirited and worthy of the fine imposed by NBA Commissioner David Stern, but it had nothing to do with runaway slaves, masters or plantations - all loaded terms that the Reverend Jackson used in a predictable, half-baked and reckless attempt to correlate modern sports free agency with the Emancipation Proclamation. He accuses Gilbert of having a "slave master" mentality and of treating James like a "runaway slave." If that's not an affront to the memory of generations of African Americans who suffered and died as captive, forced laborers, I don't know what is. Jackson also cherry picks his facts by invoking the names of Curt Flood and Spencer Haywood, two black athletes who, in Jackson's words, "changed the plantation rules," but he conveniently ignores Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally - two white baseball players who were instrumental in striking down the reserve clause and paving the way for free agency in sports. Dan Gilbert's sour grapes over losing Lebron James were small-minded and unbecoming, but Jesse Jackson's transparent attempt to spin it into a race issue is dangerous and irresponsible, and exposes Jackson as a racist more than it does anyone else.


  1. I couldn't agree more. If I were a part of the african-american community, I would be offended and disgusted that one man's purports to speak for all of us. Furthermore, I have never heard more hateful, bigotted statements than what comes out of his mouth. Look, I have respect for what he has accomplished, and what he, and alot of members of their community have lived through and seen, but for the love of god, can we stop playing the race card as a crutch? Please!! It is way to easy of an out. Furthermore, if you are trying to build up a community, isn't giving the "weakest" members such an easy out counter-productive? I am not for one minute implying that racism in America does not exist. I am not for one minute minimizing the events of the last century.BUT, by making racism the DEFAULT setting when something isn't a pie-in-the-sky observation or commentary, doesn't that actually diminish all of the suffering that previous generations have had to endure. In my humble opinion.
    Once again Ted, right on the mark!

  2. As an aside, seems to me that independant spokesperson for a whole race is a pretty good gig. Wondering how I can sign up to be one. No real job. No real business. Just pipe up when you see a high profile opportunity and wear expensive suits. THAT is a course I would have liked to see in University!!
    Presumptuous,pompous posturing 101

  3. one last thought on Dan Gilbert.
    His letter does not prove that racism exists in America (although surely it exists).
    His letter does not prove that you have to be exceptionally brilliant to be an NBA owner.
    All it does is prove that jilted lovers should be banned from writing (or typing or posting) anything until at least 24 hours after the breakup. Nothing goods comes from publicly airing your dirty laundry when you are emotional and there is no stuffing the genie back in the bottle. If it still made sense to send it out the next day, by all means go ahead. I would venture that there is NO WAY he does this 24 hours later. Not because it was racist. Not because it was not rooted in good intention. But because it made a grown, multi-millionaire sound like a 16 year old who got dumped a week before prom night.

  4. i still don't see what the big deal is, and what all the cleveland cavaliers fans and Dan Gilbert are up in arms about ... if my lease ends in september and i decide to leave, well, my roomates have no reason to get upset with the fact i decide to move to another different place. Ok, maybe there will be a strain on relations on a personal level, but i'm doing nothing wrong in leaving after the lease is up. I'm not forcing any of us to pay a lease-breach penalty and so on ... tough grapes. Deal with it! Find another roomate

    He was a free agent and was legally and rightfully-so allowed to leave. He didn't breach any contract and didn't ask for a trade. The whole 'Me Me Importance' persona he's adapted over the years is cause to complain about, but hey, his contract was up and he decided to go elsewhere. Live with it!