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Jesse Jackson compares Dan Gilbert's LeBron rant to slavery. Just when you thought that story couldn't get crazier.

Jul 11, 2010, 10:48 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for ljames_points.jpgJesse Jackson went off the deep end today. I have no other way to describe this commentary on the Rainbow Push Website.

“(Cavaliers owner Dan 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.”

A slave that makes $15 million a year?

Neither Dan Gilbert nor the Cavaliers have commented. Probably best they don’t. Take the high road this time.

Jackson suggests that Dan Gilbert thinks LeBron did something “illegal or illicit.” Jackson makes some valid points about the importance and role of free agency in sports.

Jackson also misses the point. He misses the emotional connection with players and teams that fans have. That owers have, too. Gilbert’s reaction was not that of someone who thought the system was the problem (although there are whispers of collusion). 

Gilbert lost it, and he certainly felt betrayed. But these struck me more as the feelings at the end of a bad breakup relationship. Gilbert — and the entire city of Cleveland — had been emotionally invested in James. They saw him as one of their own. They cared — they cared more than Miami (television ratings for the James egofest television show were double in Cleveland what they were in Miami).

And they got their hearts ripped out. And Gilbert lashed out, expressing what a lot of people were thinking in his city.

But to make the leap from there to Gilbert the slave owner takes some mental gymnastics. Unrealistic mental gymnastics.

This was about championships and money and emotions. It was not about slavery or the system.

365 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. William Hansen - Jul 12, 2010 at 7:52 PM

    We all know Gilbert is a dumb ass, and should have kept his big mouth shut, nobody will play for that nut.

  2. Talibah - Jul 12, 2010 at 8:36 PM

    The very nature of the owner/sports figure relationship has been eerily apparent to me for years. Finally someone has put a voice to my suspicions. I now know Jesse Jackson IS just as insane as I am. lol

  3. RONALDL E. NETTINGHAM - Jul 12, 2010 at 8:53 PM

    The response by the Cleveland owner were very much out line, Lebron had ever right to go as he saw fit. He had completed his obligation, and it was not as if no one knew that the end of the contract was near. Lebron was very business like, you would have thouht he was the owner, the he spoke so professionaly and with out emotion. God bless you Lebron James!

  4. Jason - Jul 12, 2010 at 8:59 PM

    I think it was said best by the guest host of the ESPN show “Jim Rome is Burning”—That the Cav’s owner’s comments were incredibly immature and childish. However, for Jesse Jackson to compare slavery to what was said about Lebron is ludacris, and shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same paragraph, let alone sentence as slavery. Not like it matters (as he is correct) he’s a black man.

  5. kevin - Jul 12, 2010 at 9:02 PM

    dan gilbert did everything in his power to make lebron happy. with every means and resourses he could.he flipped the cavs roster almost at a daily basis going well over the cap while paying extra on the luxury tax out of his own pocket with trades and diffrent avenues trying to make the rostor better on a daily basis. besides lebron and z our talent was very scarce when he baught the cavs. players didnt want to come to the cavs unless they had a longer contract that showed lebrons commitment to the team. cavs lost out on many free agents that could of helped his title chances such as micheal redd,trevor ariza,ron arrtest ect… but dan gilberts loyality to lebron and our city,cities and state and he started and stayed true tring to help deliever not only a better team but help us to get to a championship. he had the players he had so he did the best with trades that he could,they got moe williams,delonte west,wallace,jamison,smith,shaq…..and almost even got bosh but again lost out because lebron wouldnt commit to the team who always committed to helpping him improve his team the cavs.LEBRON WAS INCHARGE OF THE CAVS NOT A MOVE WAS MADE WITHOUT HIS STAMP OF APPROVAL OUR SALARY CAP NIGHTMARE WAS CREATED BY HIS LOBBING AND REQUESTING FOR CERTAIN MOVES TO BE MADE!!!!HE WAS THE OWNER AND BOSS OF NOT ONLY THE CAVS BUT ALL OF US OHIO FANS LOYALITY AND LOVE AND HEARTS FOR OUR HOMETOWN KID!!!!!to my memorey in my life time for an ohio team and an owner of a team i dont remember an owner spending over the salary cap in ohio and always looking to improve the roster to try to win every year!!!!!! dan was loyal to his team,players,employes,city,cities,and state!!!! he in my opinion is the best owner in sports!!!!! the heat last year didnt make a move despite wade begging them to get more players verbally upset saying heat owners wasted a year on his carreer.. now they ended up with the new trio but i still feel dan gilbert is the best owner in sports who tryes to win every year and is loyal to all of us ohioans,cavs players and employes and is a good man who has done alot for our ohio and our cavs!!!!!he spoke out of emotion and he probably regrets it!!!!! but it wasnt rascism it was a hometown and homestate kid stabbing us all in the hearts saying we wernt good enough for him on national tv!!!he didnt owe us anything but it still hurts your hometown and homestate kid saying your town isnt good enough for him to play in he could of spared our dignaty without the national broadcast of us losing our leader and captain and hometown kid!!!!

  6. Ted - Jul 12, 2010 at 9:11 PM

    Jesse Jackson is a RACIST SCUMBAG and has no place in the United States of America. He is a trouble maker and a thug with no morals or ethics at all. Even the African-American race can’t stand him.
    If Lebron was a white player he would not have cared less.No one listens to his hypocrisy and he is an adulterer.
    What more needs to be said. If the government had what it takes to investigate him, he would probably be in jail. But because he is such a pain in everyone’s side, they leave him alone. Martin Luther King would be ashamed to know this scumbag if he were alive today. All
    Jackson did was hang on his coat tails until the poor man was brought down by a lunatic.

  7. Mcsnert - Jul 12, 2010 at 9:20 PM

    Unfortunately for this poster, it is he or she who owns the slave mentality. The reactions of Clevelanders is purely emotional. They have lost a trusted and revered icon and it would not have mattered what color this icon was, the same sentiments would have come out. We have to look past the ends of our noses and trust the devotion of a fan base (including an owner) is not based on race. Cleveland loved this guy, as well they should have. He is a magnificent player and a good man who we have all watched grow from an ungainly teenager to a striking young man worthy of every praise you can heap on a sports hero. No race, no slaves, just adoration and then feelings of loss and betrayal. How would you feel if your most favored sports hero did this to you? It is so easy to play the race card and so damaging in it’s effect that it must be reserved for truly racial epithets. None were thrown here. Get a grip, PLEASE. Rev. Jackson and Al Sharpton are opportunists sometimes, looking for anything that will give them facetime on camera.

  8. Mark Rauenzahn - Jul 12, 2010 at 9:25 PM

    What??? When will these people stop pulling out the race card everytime it doesn’t come out or go their way? I am not a racist-I am not a proponent of how some people treat other people of different races…fact is, it’s what people believe that make them who they are not color, as Mr. Jackson would have you believe. White people everyday say stupid things-who points that out?? This is so stupid, so ridiculous…Dan Gilbert is the real idiot here for sure…sounds like a spoiled brat who didn’t get his way. Dan, grow a pair and resolve that stuff BEFORE you get disrespected….it won’t come across as a money hungry tyrant such as it currently sounds…IDIOT

  9. Mcsnert - Jul 12, 2010 at 9:33 PM

    I’m sorry did someone forget to tell you we have a black President? I’m a white middle class Jew and I voted for him and would vote for him again.

  10. Willoman - Jul 12, 2010 at 9:53 PM

    James I am with you. If owners ever pulled something like this they would be fined and the deal nullified. This was planned a long time ago which was admitted to by the players. You can’t tell me Wade didn’t tell Miamiit was a possibility and to clear the cap room. Also if this was planned out by the three players why did Lebron make all those visits to other teams? Lebron made it into a circus and made himself bigger than the game. Doesn’t the team usually anounce the signing? I think the way he did it is what has upset most people. It has happened in all sports the individual players are bigger than the team or the sport. It’s a sad day for all of sports.

  11. Lee - Jul 12, 2010 at 10:04 PM

    do’h…. Jesse is sticking his foot in his mouth. Dumb dumb. And Jesse Jackson is a good man. Just stuck his foot down his throat.

  12. Anonymous - Jul 12, 2010 at 10:09 PM

    Kevin, is yet another problem to the mess. Way to go Kevin. This is year 2010. Quit living in history and move on and progress.

  13. LMAO - Jul 12, 2010 at 10:17 PM

    The day after Dan Gilberts letter came out i had a conversation with several of my friends (the Rev. was not one of them) along the same lines as Rev. Jacksons comments on Dan Gilberts letter look folks Afican Americans are not fooled into thinking that just becaused laws have been passed that the mentality that went along with the thought of African Americans being less then has vanished in this country the truth is that way to many white people still think and act that way and when that mentality comes out of those white people or when its shown thru mistreatment of African Americans by authorty figures (police courts) etc etc it will be noticed and spoke on the white people who dont think that way need to tell their friends who do its time to give it up plain and simple i wonder how many times Dan wrote that letter before he was able to omit the N word ….. oh im LMAO at Dan Gilbert !!!

  14. kennard - Jul 12, 2010 at 10:22 PM

    Jesse is akin to the union chief that constantly looks for something to stir up his constituents so he looks good in front of the media. Like the union chief, Jesse is out for Jesse and Jesse only.

  15. LMAO - Jul 12, 2010 at 10:29 PM

    when you think about the money Lebron bought in for Gibert and the city of Cleavland his salary amounts to the scraps tossed out the back door of the big house to feed the slaves on the plantation

  16. Josh - Jul 12, 2010 at 10:31 PM

    One more thing: Jesse Jackson is obviously opportunistic, and saw a chance to jump into the media circus right now while it’s really good. Still… Something about Gilbert’s comments really rubbed me the wrong way, it added a bit of ugliness, tension and even fear to the “feel good” moment that was the Lebron free agency extravaganza. So, I’m glad that Jesse Jackson put that into words and got the message out GLOBALLY. If nothing else, it makes Gilbert look even more foolish than he obviously is. And, although I am a Laker fan, I truly look forward to watching the new Lebron-Wade-Bosh combo in Miami, and will try to attend some games. Should be fun!!

  17. LMAO - Jul 12, 2010 at 10:39 PM

    look at the picture of Dr Martin Luther King Jr as he lay dieing Rev. Jackson words are important and need to be heard

  18. LMAO - Jul 12, 2010 at 10:47 PM

    B.E.T. does not exclude any people it just includes black people does that upset you would your W.E.T include or exclude black people

  19. Brown - Jul 12, 2010 at 10:58 PM

    Jesse Jackson did what he does best: promote Jesse Jackson

  20. fiveiron - Jul 12, 2010 at 11:08 PM

    Jesse and LeBron never have, and never will know what it’s like to work for a living. They should count their blessings.

  21. Mal - Jul 12, 2010 at 11:46 PM

    I have to agree that jesse talks too damn much. He does need another subject to speak of other than race. lebron and dan were childish, but how the hell did he figure this was a “jesse” platform. How about jesse, you stick with topics relevant to fixing the ills in our community rather than yaking about race (over a freaking basketball game). its sports entertainment anyway, just like many have posted (nba = wwe). not a real sport anymore. why don’t jesse and al stick up for the little guy when the camera isn’t around or there’s no self-promotion opportunity. Hey jesse and al, stop talking to the damn cartoon media networks and talk to the people about sh*t that matters.

  22. Bob - Jul 12, 2010 at 11:54 PM

    Jackson has been an joke for years. If Dr. King was alive today he would bitchslap him out of the human race. Jesse is one of the biggest racist of our time. He and Sharpton never met a camera they didn’t like. A couple of real publicity seekers.

  23. Virginia - Jul 12, 2010 at 11:58 PM

    I just want to say that Gilbert was Fine tonight $100 thousand dollars tonight because of his letter. It’s a shame that his teanmates and fans had to fine out the way they did. It was his team i hope and pray that he don;t let the children in Akron down at his Bike Athon in Aug. I just don’t understand why the owners have to give all these extry perts to keep them with there team. Going to Miami Bron will just be a follower now and it won’t be his team.

  24. alvin - Jul 13, 2010 at 12:22 AM

    What does race got to do with this. I’m so sick and tired of this kind of statement and this is coming from a asian guy (me). I think Jesse should just keep his mouth shut.

  25. John - Jul 13, 2010 at 12:30 AM

    You’re speaking for all black people, Kevin? Who elected you? Certainly not me and all the black folks I know… in my family, in my church. None of us think like you and the ‘wrong’ reverend Jackson. He’s everything that’s wrong with race relations today. Please don’t follow what that idiot says. MLK turns over in his grave every time Jackson speaks and brings us all down. Time to move on, people. Can’t try to pull race into every issue, it’ll only keep you stuck back where you don’t want to be.

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