Jesse Jackson Slams Cavs Owner: LeBron’s No ‘Runaway Slave’ Fleeing ‘Plantation’
July 12, 2010
(ChattahBox)—-Everyone has an opinion about NBA All-Star LeBron James’ much-hyped decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers, as a free agent to play for the Miami Heat. And longtime civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson, has his own very special take on the soap opera-ish drama. Responding to Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert’s bizarre rant, attacking LeBron as selfish and cowardly, Jackson wants to remind Gilbert that the Cavaliers is not a white man’s “plantation” and James is not a “runaway slave.”
What should have been an every-day occurrence of a sports superstar changing teams during free agency status, has instead turned into a national spectacle.
True, King James’ bizarre live ESPN extravaganza, dubbed “The Decision,” wherein after nearly 30-minutes of drawn out nonsense, James finally announced, “I’m taking my talents to South Beach,” left James open to derision. Still, he was a free agent and he made a decision to play for a new team. End of story. Move on people.
But Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert just can’t quit LeBron. And he issued an angry, somewhat psychotic screed against James’ decision to leave Cleveland, calling him “selfish” and accusing him of a “cowardly betrayal” of his hometown fans. Gilbert also accused James of “quitting” in the playoffs and promised that the “Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA championship before the self-titled former ‘King’ wins one.”
The Rev. Jesse Jackson responded with a statement issued from his group, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, accusing Gilbert of treating James like his personal slave property and besmirching James’ reputation in the process:
“He [Gilbert] 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.
He must know the Curt Flood suit, which changed plantation rules and created free agency; and the Spencer Haywood suit that changed eligibility rules.
If he believes that LeBron quit in games 2, 4, 5 and 6 of the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals, then, why did he fire the coach? If he believes that LeBron intentionally quit, determining the outcome of those games, why did he pursue him and offer him and additional $120 million to stay in Cleveland?
These accusations endanger LeBron. His jersey is being burned in effigy, and he is being projected as a betrayer by the owner.” [...]
Jackson goes on to call Gilbert’s attack “mean” and points out that an NBA team is not a master’s plantation:
“LeBron is not a child, nor is he bound to play on Gilbert’s plantation and be demeaned. He has been a model citizen and has inspired the children of Akron, Cleveland, the State of Ohio and the United States.
He has conducted camps for children, helped to win a gold medal for our nation and his public deportment has been excellent.
Mr. Gilbert’s statement is mean, arrogant and presumptuous.”
Really, can this story get any weirder? Apparently it can.
Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons/Eric Guo/Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr. discusses funding higher education in the Max Palevsky Cinema in Ida Noyes.