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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 EST

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. Kim - Jul 13, 2010 at 12:30 AM

    For all those who are telling Jesse Jackson to shut up and calling Lebron a traitor, here are the facts for you so-called “White” people. First of all you are not “white” you are pink! The blood shows through your skin for lack of skin color (Albino). Second,your people created the tradition of killing. You have killed Japanese, Koreans, Africans, Blacks, Middle Eastern, Chinese, Indians, Spanish etc.. If Karma is real what do you think would happen if everyone figures out you are a race of haters and joins together. A group that that burns the cross that Jesus died on during ceremonies of killing. The “Race Card” and tell Rev. Al and Jesse to shut up is a term racist people use to state how they want to hate without anyone acknowledging that they are doing so. It brings me much delight to know that some of the greatest racist and klansmen in the history of America that killed and hated during the 60’s and earlier such as Hitler and The KKK are now in hell with Satam himself. In life, the only contribution these type of whites have given is hate. They hate themselves and all of life. Not all white people are racist. John Brown is as great as Martin Luther King in my opinion. But, most of the people on this blog are born insecure devils that live for one thing. Hate. We see you! Someone said I was a racist. Only toward racist. I hate racist with a passion. It just so happens that the people who do it most and best are white.

  2. Kim - Jul 13, 2010 at 12:33 AM

    For all those who are telling Jesse Jackson to shut up and calling Lebron a traitor, here are the facts for you so-called “White” people. First of all you are not “white” you are pink! The blood shows through your skin for lack of skin color (Albino). Second,your people created the tradition of killing. You have killed Japanese, Koreans, Africans, Blacks, Middle Eastern, Chinese, Indians, Spanish etc.. If Karma is real what do you think would happen if everyone figures out you are a race of haters and joins together. A group that that burns the cross that Jesus died on during ceremonies of killing. The “Race Card” and tell Rev. Al and Jesse to shut up is a term racist people use to state how they want to hate without anyone acknowledging that they are doing so. It brings me much delight to know that some of the greatest racist and klansmen in the history of America that killed and hated during the 60’s and earlier such as Hitler and The KKK are now in hell with Satam himself. In life, the only contribution these type of whites have given is hate. They hate themselves and all of life. Not all white people are racist. John Brown is as great as Martin Luther King in my opinion. But, most of the people on this blog are born insecure devils that live for one thing. Hate. We see you! Someone said I was a racist. Only toward racist. I hate racist with a passion. It just so happens that the people who do it most and best are white.

  3. LMAO - Jul 13, 2010 at 12:37 AM

    not speaking out will keep us stuck and make us lose wwat we have gained by speaking out

  4. LMAO - Jul 13, 2010 at 12:43 AM

    hey stupid MLK was against violence

  5. Kim - Jul 13, 2010 at 12:45 AM

    Everything including basketball was segregated for years. When other races entered the arena and competition became fair, it exposed how the race monopoly was self-exalting and false. From Jack Johnson to Tiger Woods to the NBA and to Hank Aaron, we shattered the racist myth “World Champion”. Just step up your game and stop crying. Right now it appears character assasination is your only chance to win until you learn to play better. And what about that rhythm thing, is the lack of it in your dancing skills the fault of blacks or you for not practicing. Fred Estaire and Gene Kelly did’nt have issues. Just practice. Larry Bird beats Magic many occasions because he worked at his game. No one had to assasinate Magic Johnson’s character because we all know that Larry Bird was the bomb!

  6. Kim - Jul 13, 2010 at 12:47 AM

    Not the Satan, The KKK, Hitler or James Earl Ray.

  7. LMAO - Jul 13, 2010 at 12:53 AM

    Rev. Jackson has been putting in work since the begining of the fight and he is still putting in work as the fight continues

  8. LMAO - Jul 13, 2010 at 1:07 AM

    jesse has been and contiues to promote the fight are still in

  9. Ichabod Brown - Jul 13, 2010 at 1:20 AM

    Again you’re thinking of Indiana.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ku_Klux_Klan
    Read the section on resistance and decline.
    Further, I quoted “ownership” to be ironic and point out the absurdity of it’s use in this situation. It’s poor inductive reasoning to take general historical societal problems and use it’s broad brush to paint this case. You nor no one else has provided evidance of any action Mr. Gilbert has taken let alone a pattern of such based upon whatever personal prejugduces racial or otherwise. Though, I have attempted to articulate other motivations in my previous post.
    No one has stated Lebron did not have a right to leave which is a point which seems to be falling on deaf ears. It’s the fact he metaphorically urinated on the community which helped raised him by actions detailed in a previous post. Add to this the fact he quit during the last playoff series for whatever reason he had (fyi I read in a Chicago newspaper he was out drinking late at night prior to a loss in the prior series), and he appears to have spoken about joining a competitor while still under contract and you have a lot of angry people. Mr. Gilbert’s letter as inappropriate as it was gave voice to those emotions.

  10. rodk47 - Jul 13, 2010 at 1:40 AM

    Stop it already! LeBron James was a FREE agent! In a very stupid, egotistical manner, he held the fawning sycophants at ESPN hostage and made himself out to be the center of the universe with his ridiculous “DECISION” special.
    Yes, Gilbert’s remarks were intemperate, and unnecessary…but he was paying James millions per year, and LeBust didn’t even have the decency to let Gilbert know his decision.
    As for Jetstream Jesse…he’s just looking for one more way to put himself in front of a microphone and a TV camera. “Hymietown” Jackson should have enough shame to stop accusing other people of racism.

  11. LMAO - Jul 13, 2010 at 1:41 AM

    I AM LMAO AT DAN GILBERT THANKS TO JESSE AND OTHERS I CAN LMAO IN PUBLIC AT A FOOLISH WHITE MAN AND NOT BE WORRIED ABOUT BEING DRUG OUT OF MY HOUSE AND BEAT OR MURDERED FOR DOING IT OH YEA BECAUSE OF JESSE AND OTHER LEADING THE WAY THE LAW SAYS THAT I HAVE THE SAME RIGHTS AS WHITE PEOPLE DO THANK YOU JESSE

  12. Lisa - Jul 13, 2010 at 1:45 AM

    Jesse Jackson, I am offended by your comment and DEMAND an apology. You have become one ignorant fool and your followers are less and less. You can find racism in a bag of M&M’s. You nut job.

  13. LMAO - Jul 13, 2010 at 2:02 AM

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

  14. Whatevahfugitaboutit - Jul 13, 2010 at 2:10 AM

    Incredible. All this feedback on a man’s career move to another company. So far, I’ve avoided spending any time or effort feeding the Lebronapalooza, other than to note that he went to Miami. The common thread here is that all the principles suffer from the same problem, namely, they’re all WAY too full of themselves. GET OVER YOURSELVES, would you? The sun will rise and set, the tides will come in and go out, the world will turn. In other words, move on.

  15. kevin - Jul 13, 2010 at 2:36 AM

    kim………………..it sounds like you have alot of hate and anger built towards the wrong human souls. im a slovac,hungarian,german/cacasion american. my ansesters of the slovac side were slaves to the country of russia for a long time. i was never a slave or ,had any slaves in the history of my family. im sorry that there was evil in the past but i nor my family was or were involved in any of that. no war,no owning of slaves,no killing,nothing. it shouldnt be prosecuted on inisant souls for crimes they wernt apart of or even thier family wasnt even apart of……………ive been called cracker,honkey,white devil,ect……….why because the colar of my skin? if you go back in history alot of crimes were committed by all diffrent races,there were slavery issues in many diffrent races whether it was irish,scottland,slovacs,aferican americans,ect… and aferican americans were slaves in africa even before that. point is there were terrible and horrible things and crimes that were done in the past. key word is past it wasnt you,me or probably any one reading this site. im me,you are you,joe and salley down the road are them. CANT WE PLEASE JUST LIVE IN HARMONEY NOW AND START A LOVE CHAIN AND FORGET ABOUT THIS HATE ON A RACE OR SOMEONES COLAR OF THIER SKIN!!!!!!stop the hate chain. lets live with one another in peace and harmony!!!! i havent committed a crime just because the colar of my skin nor do i imagine you have or anyone else has that is reading this. im sorry there was evil in the past but it wasnt the soul your looking at or hating on but souls that are dead and gone from all diffrent races. IM INASANT AS YOU ARE TOO.THE CRIMES DONE TO MY FAMILY WERNT YOU AND I WASNT THE CRIMES DONE TO YOUR FAMILY.you have hate,anger built up as so do alot of people.its easy to say let it go but isnt Gods way so love one another unconditionally with no racist our hate intent for look past the colar of one skin and race and let it be known to just love one another in peace and harmony! WORLD PEACE STARTS WITH YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. THANK YOU JESSE - Jul 13, 2010 at 2:38 AM

    I am happy that Jesse Jackson made those comments. I know some people think he is playing the race card. Frankly I think that is an absurd term because unless you are a black person who is subjected to racism on a nearly daily basis, EVEN in 2010, it is hard to understand the subtlties of it when it comes in terms of Gilbert’s statements. I doubt seriously he would have used those same words if they player had been Bird, Jason Williams or any other white player. They just don’t talk to their own the same way they talk to and about the black players. America wants to vilify Jesse, yet ignoring that when he takes a stance on racial and social issues, he is usually dead on point. Had Lebron made disparging comments about Gilbert, Stern would not have waited 4 days to levy a fine. It would have been done that night and perhaps a suspension. There is a DOUBLE STANDARD in America and it involves RACE and so RACE IS AN IMPORTANT SOCIETAL issue in America because we STILL are not considered equal. No matter the visible lines of discrimination have been torn down, the invisible lines still remain and THAT is where Gilbert’s comments come from. As long as LeBron was lining his pockets with millions of dollars, he really didn’t care if LeBron got a ring or not. Just keep butts in the seats. tHat is all the owners care about. I just wish the players had the gall to not play in the NBA and start their own league. They do not realize the power they have but that is changing as could be seen by the way Wade, LeBron and Bosh handled their careers. This makes the establishment angry because they have painted a box where THEY have decided they should fit in but these smart men took control of their own legacy and destiny. I am proud of them and I hope many other young black men are paying close attention. They have the talent so they have the power. Make it work for them. As for Jesse, thank you for being the voice of so many of us who don’t get the ear of the media yet we feel exactly they you expressed it. I hope every black fan in Ohio refuses to buy tickets to the Cavs game. Hit Gilbert where he’ll most understand—HIS WALLET. Keep the pressure on them Jesse.

  17. kevin - Jul 13, 2010 at 2:52 AM

    IT WASNT RACISM IF THE MAN WAS ANY RACE IT WOULD HURT OUR STATE FAN IF OUR PLAYERS LEFT AND LEAVING OUR TEAM ITS LIKE FAMILY LEFT US WE OHIO FANS OUR PASSIONATE ABOUT OUR PLAYERS,TEAMS,AND SPORTS!!!!! IF YOU READ ABOUT OHIO AND THIER FANS THEY LOVE THIER PLAYERS AS FAMILY WIN OR LOSE!!!!!IT DOESNT MATTER SOMEONES RACE AND ITS SAD ITS USED LIKE THIS!!!!!!!!!!

  18. LMAO - Jul 13, 2010 at 3:04 AM

    thank you thank you jesse youre right on point LeBrons show on espn was watched by almost 10 million people making it the third most watched show on cable this year yea that is a lot of power and a lot of smarts and Gilbert and the NBA gained no money from it and stern thinks LeBron took some wrong advice yea its time for these young talented smart black men and women to get away from the likes of Stern and Gilbert and do their own thing without excluding other races from joining them of course ….. like the NBA and america did for so long to black people

  19. LMAO - Jul 13, 2010 at 3:15 AM

    its ashame that a man in Gilberts position didnt doesnt respect LeBron as a man that did nothing nothing wrong in the way he announced that he was leaving Gilbert should be thanking LeBron be cause the games that the cavs play the heat will be the only ones that the cavs play on tv LMAO

  20. kevin - Jul 13, 2010 at 3:25 AM

    magic,bird,jordan. all three were hall of famers.all three were loyal to there teams and brought championships to thier own towns. each had hall of fame help on thier rosters but no player on there teams were one of the top three in the league at the prime of thier ages in thier carreer with those three during thier title run. example magic had abduljabar but was towards the end of his carreer so magic was the leader and captain.example bird had parish and mcchale but those two werent at birds,magics,and or jordans level of play so bird was the leader and captain.example jordan had pippen but even pippen as great as he was still wasnt at the level of a magic,bird,or a jordan so jordan was the leader and captain……….well lebron was the next great player the next jordan,bird,and magic………….well to be the best you have to beat the best! magic,bird,and jordan had help and hall of fame help at that but they didnt need each other to do it!!! nor did they need the top three or four best players in the league at the time to help them win. kobe,anthony,wade,lebron are the top players in the league. they should all have help to help them win but i was always at the belief you want competion and makes it funner and to be a leader of a team and captain you should lead recruit help mold your team to be the best to beat the best!!!not join the best? jordan,bird,and magic never needed each other to win but they needed help but they were the mega stars and leaders of lakers,bostan,andchicago.. lebron joined with wade.kobe retires in a couple years so what who is the rival competitor? what are you teaching the kids well i cant win or lead with this team so lets join with all the good players and pounce on everyone. WHATS NEXT COLLEGE PLAYERS VERSE THIRD GRADERS? HEY WE DONT WANT TO LOSE? RACISM MY BEHIND SHOUT UP THAT IS SICK PEOPLE TRY USING THAT WERE IT DOESNT FIT OR EVEN BELONG IN THIS ARGUEMENT!!!!!!!!!THERE WASNT ANY RASISM BUTT YOU TRY TO DIG BUT THERE WASNT ANY AT ALL!!!!!!!!YOU SOUND OFF BASE IM SORRY!!!!

  21. Bryan - Jul 13, 2010 at 4:59 AM

    Im a black man and i see gilberts comments more as stupid than racist, if you look into every negative comment towards a black man you can materialize racism, doesnt mean tha man is racist, and for us to accuse any body that says gilbert isnt a racist just makes us look bad and makes us look like we are crying wolf and makes us look worse

  22. A ADAMS - Jul 13, 2010 at 5:10 AM

    jesse needs to go and sit his butt down, he’s trying to get into the lime light afer all that he said and done in the past few years. have a seat and keep your mouth shut.

  23. C Money - Jul 13, 2010 at 7:57 AM

    Kevin. I think you are reaching a little here. If Bron was a White/Indian/Asian and his stature was larger than life and he left without giving you any foresight, after, you felt that you did everything that you could to appease him and his friends….. and he leaves, giving you a 5 minute heads up. Thats like being dumped by the love of your life on your wedding day. You wouldn’t feel any resentment? He just happened to be rich enough to get his drunken letter published. Not to mention… Bron has brought a lot of revenue to the Clev area….GONE.

  24. Silk32 - Jul 13, 2010 at 9:16 AM

    INTERPRETATION: This is what Dan Gilbert meant to say in his open letter to fans ———> http://clicky.me/rSI

  25. Bob - Jul 13, 2010 at 9:19 AM

    Time for LMAO to get a job. Way too much free time.

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