Thursday, October 20, 2011
Jimmy Crack Corn and Bryant Gumbel don't care
And you thought Don Cherry was a loose cannon.
HBO Sports anchor Bryant Gumbel went off on a tirade this week that made Cherry's "pukes and hypocrites" brouhaha look like a pre-nap tantrum during quiet time at nursery school.
In an editorial addressing the basketball lockout, Gumbel likened NBA commissioner David Stern to a modern day plantation owner treating men as if they were his "boys."
This isn't one of those cases where Gumbel can get away with saying that because he's black. Playing the race card is a dubious proposition at the best of times. To characterize highly-paid and pampered pro athletes as slaves just because the majority of the work force is black and the NBA commissioner is white isn't just irresponsible - it's inflammatory.
The disturbing thing is that as a seasoned, award-winning journalist, Gumbel knows better, which means his comments were calculated, although to what end is known only to Gumbel himself. His documented history of controversial, race-related comments bespeaks a shameless, self-seeking publicity hound, but maybe he really fancies himself as some kind of latter day Martin Luther King, Jr., fighting the good fight for civil rights. If that's the case, Gumbel might want to pick a different battlefield than the NBA. Comparing privileged multi-millionaires to slaves minimizes genuine social injustices and undermines the efforts of the legitimate champions of racial equality.