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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. kee-lai - Jul 13, 2010 at 10:18 AM

    many comments hath ben sayed and i can for certainly say that i read very much of none of them to have been taken seriously. i say unto thee, plitherry plornayfulteeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Love to all. Plus, peace!
    And also, many more words are to come and then, well, then we will all be together and say our words unto the Lord!!!

  2. kevin - Jul 13, 2010 at 12:41 PM

    bottom line………ohio lost one of thier local kids,heroes,leaders,and of our family a ohio kid that warmed our hearts to cheer for because he was one of us a ohioan. we all looked up to him and all believed in him.he preeched loyality and family because he knew what we were about and he was about the same because he was a buckie an ohioan. he not only was one of us but he happin to be one of the greatest basketball players to have ever played.ALOT OF OHIO FANS WASNT ALIVE TO WATCH JIM BROWN PLAY OR EVEN TO WATCH A CHAMPIONSHIP!EVERY SPORTS CITY OR STATE HAD CHAMPIONSHIPS AND SUPER STARS THAT PLEDGED THIER LOYALITY TO THIER TEAM WHICH I MEAN MEGA SUPER STARS FROM PEYTON MANNING,MONTANA&RICE,MAGIC,BIRD,JORDAN,ECT WELL OHIO HASNT HAD THAT IF AT ALL.WHILE MOST WERNT ALIVE FOR JIM BROWN OR ANY CHAMPIONSHIPS AND LEBRON WAS ONE OF US AND A MEGA STAR THAT WE NEVER HAD THE CHANCE TO CHEER,WATCH OR BE PROUD OF OUR PLAYER,STATE,OR TEAMS.LEBRON WAS THE BEST BASKETBALL PLAYER MAYBE EVER AND A HOMETOWN KID AND IT HURT HE SAID WE WERNT GOOD ENOUGH. you didnt have to win a championship for us to love to be loyal and to treat you like family and our hall of famer for life! many cleveland sports former players are looked upon with respect loyality and love how they looked at us ,our cities and state with the same.when our kid said we wernt good enough it hurt and it felt as we were betrayed humilated on national tv. HE WAS OURLEADER OUR CAPTAIN OUR HOMETOWN KID THE NEXT JORDAN ,BIRD , MAGIC , THE ONE OF THE BEST PLAYERS EVER! HE SAID WE WERNT GOOD ENOUGH,HIS TEAMMATES WERNT GOOD ENOUGH OUR TEAM WASNT GOOD ENOUGH ON NATIONAL TV. JORDAN,BIRD,MAGIC NEVER DID THAT TO THIER TEAMATES,TEAM,OR FANS! YES HE IS FREE TO GO WERE HE WANTS!!!NO NONE OF THIS IS RACISM! IT WAS A HOMETOWN KID SAYING THE FANS,TEAMMATES,AND,TEAM,WASNT,good,ENOUGH,we were loyal to him and loved him and he stabbed us all in the heart on national tv! HE IS FREE TO GO WERE HE WANTS!!!!!!!! BUT IF THE CAVS MAKE THE PLAYOFFS WITHOUT HIM!!!!!HE IS NO JORDAN,BIRD,OR,MAGIC because leaders dont leave or quit on there teammates maybe role players but mega super stars…. comon thats weak what leader does that idont care what race you are or were i dont look at skin or race i look at what kind of person someone is and i think lebron and gilbert were very wrong in the way this went down!!!!!! the only racism is the people who speak it!!!!!!!!!!!! IN SPORTS FOR THOSE WHO PLAYED IT KNOW TO BE THE BEST YOU HAVE TO BEAT THE BEST!!!!HE JOINED THE BEST! WELL HE WILL BE A HALL OF FAMER NO DOUBT BUT BY JOINING WADE AND LEAVING HIS TEAMMATES,TEAM,AND FANS IN THE DIRTT HE WILL NEVER BE REGARDED AS A MAGIC,JORDAN,AND OR BIRD!!!!!yes free agents now come and go…but a leader,captain,a mega star builds his own team into a champion!!!!it was his team he was incharge ,it was his hometown,and homestate!!!!!!!!! HE STABBED US ALL IN THE HEART!!!!! hE DOESNT OWE US NOTHING SO WE OWE HIM NOTHING!!!!!!! Good luck to you in life lebron and im sorry if the ohio fan or mr.gilbert words hurt you!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Phil - Jul 13, 2010 at 1:38 PM

    Settle down, Kevin. You honest to goodness don’t think the comments would be much the same from Gilbert if LeBron was white? This is a shallow argument.

  4. Preston - Jul 13, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    Racist black people drive me nuts. What are you talking about? If your under 35 you shouldnt even be talking about racism. This subject is dead to the youth of this nation and pointless to talk about. Jesse Jackson is just talking to get his name in the media once again. Hes broke, and needs the attention since Obama is president his rallie cries RACISM… Have Died. Jesse Jackson is a racist. I CANT STAND RACIST BLACK PEOPLE. Black Americans should have the integrity to let it go and be the bigger person, and move on. To bring it up all the time, and to look so deeply into a topic that has nothing to do with race is obscene. If racism has affected you negatively then you should be inclined to know what racism is. Dan Gilberts comments dont strike me as racist either.
    The only thing that dan gilbert did wrong was speak poorly about a “product” of the NBA. dimenshing Lebron “BRAND.” Obviously if you wanted to look into the media and owners of the networks you could look deeply into the subject and say his brand is just to entice black people to buy it and make money of Black Americans. Keep buying the Jerseys and Shoes. So for him to get fined 100k for ruining the “Brand” would take money out of Sterns Pocket. They cant have people not buying his new jersey, that wouldnt be right. LBJ Should have handled this much quicker, and soon as the season ended for him. We all know that NBA has a contract with espn, or abc or whatever it is. So they did make money of the special. To think that they didnt is dumb. So the real racist person would be not the team owners, but the tv, owners and the league owners, you cant hate the team owners for wanting to go into buisness, and be mad when it gets hurt.
    Freedom of Speech is the best thing about our country
    Jesse Jackson is a racist!
    David Stern is a tool!
    LBJ is awesome, ill still watch him. Never buy his stuff thou. No loyalty to keep the colors he wears.
    Dan Gilbert is foolish to try to keep lbj, he should have traded him the year before.

  5. jgc711 - Jul 13, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    jj has been out for a while…he just wants to get back into the limelight…

  6. rocky - Jul 13, 2010 at 4:48 PM

    Toby, i mean liz,
    in what degree have you felt any real racism that generations before you have had to deal with. black people have been gaining rights ever since mlk. more rights than whites, latinos and asian descent as well. i hate it how balck people like you throw salvery in my face like im supposed to be sorry for something YOU yourself DID NOT experience and something I myself did not do nor did my ancesters who came to this country after slavery was abolished by a white man, Lincoln. it is incredibly wrong for you to think black prople deserve anything for what happened so long ago, you already get the liberties and persuite of happiness that is provided by the constitution, you get government and state assistance, same as any white man, or any race under the US flag, yet you have the naacp and all kinds of african american scholorships and benifits from our government, country and people. there is no racism left in the US, just REVERSE RACISM, which comes from the likes of ignorant people like you. you are the racist here, youve made it really clear.

  7. Anonymous - Jul 13, 2010 at 5:24 PM

    Toby, i mean jones,
    Just because they do not “openly” have rallies stating the hate for blacks or burn crosses like back in the day, doesn’t mean racism doesn’t exist. Look at the number of minorities in prison, the AZ immigration laws, high unemployment rate for minorities, the Tea Party Movement, the “we need to take back our country” comments and many more. Some white people think that just because they are not saying they hate black people that racism doesn’t exist when they really think that blacks are inferior to them,
    **Black people are the most openly racist and reverse racist on the planet, and we(white people) have to ignore it otherwise have to deal with ignorant uneducated people who want to argue to no end and possibly get into a fist fight over it. i was in high school and a black kid called me racist when i picked a smarter more focused asian kid who i knew would be a great pick to be on my math team instead of him, a black kid. he then after class in the hall verbally abused me calling me every racist white name in the book and when i tried to stick up for myself and state my case he punched me in the face and kept hitting me while is was on the ground, other balck kids joined beating me who werent in that class and thier later excuse was they just wanted to hit a white kid, so im told by peers, this kids mother was called to the school to pick up her son and she cried racism cause her son was being suspened for fighting and using fowl language and i was sent to the nurses office to clean the blood off my face and put an ice apck on my head.for the rest of the year i was treated very badly by the balcks in school being called all sorts of names and getting jumped by four black kids. if there is anything to learn here is that white people, no matter how hard they try to make the playing feild level, the black man and black women who are more apt to argue and fight for something that they wont let die, racism, because that is the only escuse blacks have to to hide behind instead of admitting they didnt get something they didnt earn or wasnt the best at. try walking in a white mans shoes knowing that a bigger stronger balck man could kick your ass for just being white or saying something they misinterpret. by the way black people can thank all the slave owners back in the day for the selective breeding that gave them thier size, strength, and physical abilities.
    now, am i being racist cause im white or cause of what is said?
    Just because they do not “openly” have rallies stating the hate for blacks or burn crosses like back in the day, doesn’t mean racism doesn’t exist. Look at the number of minorities in prison, the AZ immigration laws, high unemployment rate for minorities, the Tea Party Movement, the “we need to take back our country” comments and many more. Some white people think that just because they are not saying they hate black people that racism doesn’t exist when they really think that blacks are inferior to them, as in Gilberts case. Now, Byron Scott has to deal with that crap up there when they won’t be able to recruit any good players other than draft picks.

  8. Anonymous - Jul 13, 2010 at 5:43 PM

    Toby, i mean “thank you jesse”
    your right, we arent equal. balck people have the naacp, black scholorships, bet, all sorts of government assistance built for the poor indegent communities which dont better themselves cuase the feel they deserve more than what the government has already given them, black people are bigger stronger and faster than white people so yall get the best positions in sports as well. but you dont see us complaining and pulling the race card cuase we dont see any white men on the court or field.
    so case in point, black people have the easiest road to walk in America with all the benifits, assistance and naacp to pave the way yet yall expect the white man and us government to carry you down the road instead of walk it yourself.

  9. LMAO - Jul 13, 2010 at 7:53 PM

    i think the civil rights act was made law around 1963 whats that 47yrs ago when the law went in the books the mentality of the people who fought hard and long against civil rights for black people did not vanish into thin air nor has it to this day it went undercover no longer could they tell a black person to there face that youre not hired because youre black they instead accept the application with a smile then when the person leaves they throw the application into the trash or bury it at the bottom of the pile knowing that they are not going to consider the black applicant for the position that goes on across the board that mentality is what needs to change and it is and will as that old gaurd (the good ole boys) die off but it could also be changed by the white people who dont have that mentality if they confront their friends that do have that old out dated mentality and let them know its time to give it up and then you good God fearing white people wont have to put up with us black people who speak our mind when the mentality rears its ugly head

  10. rocky - Jul 13, 2010 at 8:32 PM

    Toby, I mean LMFAO
    Wish you would come apply for any position I could offer you and I would give you a fair chance. I have hired many black people cuase of a good resume and great interview skills, not cause of thier color but cuase of how the present and handle themselves in a professional invironment. Only a the best man gets the job. I have worked hard since high school to get and education for a scholorship cause my family is poor just to goto college and work even harder thier to get a degree while working part time and use that degree to start at the bottom, which I did, and work my way to the top. I guess ill blow my own horn and say everyone who is employed under me likes me or doesnt mind me cause Im fair down to just flipping a coin. By rising from the bottom I deserve my poistion at the top and have earned my high paying salary and definetly try to encourage others that anyone, ANYONE, can do it.
    Now that being said, learn some English grammer cause reading your post was like a blur. If your resume would look anything like your post your application would be at the bottom of the pile or in the trash UNLESS, you have great personable skills and present yourself in a manor like you really want to work and be apart of a team and not just running around handing out applications.
    By the way Im athiest so throw the god fearing people along with your resume in the trash for me. Thanks big guy!

  11. LMAO - Jul 13, 2010 at 8:46 PM

    the subject of racism is dieing in the white youth of america (except for the ones being raised and taught to be racist)and with white pople in general only because they have had an oppurtunity to experience the greatness of black people by interacting with us but it is not dead racism is just hidden and is still being practiced in much of society and in time it will become less and less so in the mean time when racism rears its head it will be and needs to be talked about (we will not return to the back of the bus)and i thank The Rev. Jesse Jackson for withstanding the water hoses the dog attacks the police brutality the unlawful incarcerations the death threats and all of the other inhumane treatment he suffered thru when he was on the front lines of the fight for equal rights for black people and i thank him for continueing to speak out on the subject….. his voice his name his likeness and his words do and should command the attention of the media and white people because it lets them know that we know the fight still needs to be fought and will be fought thank you Rev. Jesse Jckson

  12. john - Jul 13, 2010 at 8:55 PM

    jackson the race card is getting old with us now were tired of it. find a new job.

  13. LMAO - Jul 13, 2010 at 9:00 PM

    if all that is true my hat is off to you rocky if all that is true try passing that mentality on to your white friends that you know dont share that view it would help out a great deal….. oh yea you might want to hire somebody to proof youre post read it over and you will see what im talking about bigger guy…… oh one more thing i hope you dont mind but i will be praying for you bigger guy

  14. LMAO - Jul 13, 2010 at 9:04 PM

    ha ha bob i really am LMAO

  15. john - Jul 13, 2010 at 9:05 PM

    The owners is a cry baby hes has the write to say anything he won’ts. All hes doing making him self look like @@@@@.He didnt say anything damaging toward lebron. Thats how he feels who cares hes gone .

  16. LMAO - Jul 13, 2010 at 9:20 PM

    so when did this so called race card start getting old to you was it in the 1940s 50s 60s 70s and who are the we youre talking about

  17. rocco - Jul 13, 2010 at 9:24 PM

    i concur with jesse….

  18. kevin - Jul 13, 2010 at 9:31 PM

    ok a mover that works for a moving company,he or she could be any race chose to work for thier moving company under a boss. he or she could be the best mover in america.he or she still chose to work for a boss.if he or she desides to leave to go to a new company usually they give a two weeks notice. he or she could go to the papers or newsstations saying he or she wants to go to a better moving company and with better co workers and let every one know how much better the new place is.all though it usually isnt the proper buisness way to do it i guees he or she could do it even if its degrading to the former company and all thier workers. if the former employer and employes feel stabbed in the gut and heart and felt betrayed by thier former coworker and felt they were all family and even let thier best worker do what they want and chose which workers get hired or get to work certain jobs and done everything in thier power to try to keep thier best worker happy and wanted he or she to stay and felt they were all together and a family in thier company all together as a unit. lebron james is the best basketball player in the world and he chose to work for the nba.we all have jobs its not rascism or anthing like that its life we have bosses and jobs to work for our families. its was lebron humilating his teammates,co workers,former employer,his fans on national tv with no notice saying they and all of us werent good enough for him. you dont owe us anything. all the kids and woman crying they lost thier hero thier local hometown and homestate gave us hope,a person and team to cheer for,belief in you and finally had a team that was the best in world and it was in ohio. chicago had the bulls,boston had the patriots,celtics,red sox,miami had the marlins and heat,new york had the yankees,giants,mets,jets…ect……………we wernt alive to watch jim brown play or any championships…… our kids are broken hearted thier hero is gone!!!ISNT AND DIDNT YOU DO ENOUGH AND PUT US THROUGH ENOUGH NOW YOUR TRYING TO SAY WERE RASCIST WELL YOU STINK FOR THAT!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Bob - Jul 13, 2010 at 9:41 PM

    Time for LMAO to get a job.

  20. rocky - Jul 14, 2010 at 6:44 PM

    Toby, I mean LMFAO,
    “Diary of a racist black man”.

  21. robert embry - Jul 15, 2010 at 2:21 AM

    everyone knows that jessy jackass and the rev. not so sharp sharpton don’t have the iq of a cinder block. no one cares what they think!!!!

  22. Faith - Jul 15, 2010 at 10:03 AM

    Most white have no idea what other races go through in this country. Lets talk about the Indian do we ever think about how their land was stolen from them and they were pushed back on some land that you know no one wanted especially the white man. Then came the slaves who work from sun up to down and were beating just because. But white people say forget that move on. But most of you can’t forget anything that is done to you by anyone but you want others to move on. I say this why can’t this world really be about a great country America and not if you are not white you can’t do anything right or you have to be the best. Until you have walk in the shoes of a man that was hung because he looked at a white women then you don’t know what you would be feeling right now. Race had nothing to do with Lebron decision it was a bout selfishness. He did not give the Cleveland owner the resprect he deserved that was bottom line. He had the right to leave but do it with heart and respect for others feeling. As for Mr. Jaskson another lesson that we should learned keep your mouth shut when it is not necessary to talk. I just want people to think about what they say before saying it america is only as great as the respect you have for the people around you or leading this country black white blue are green respect the job that people are trying to do with been so judgemental. Love would solve a lot of problem ifall of us would just stop thinking about self and think about the person next door, across the room or down the street. Another thing all my life my neighbors have been of other another race but it really bothers me when white people live next door to a black person and think it is such a surprise that he/she could be a good person. There are just as many white thugs as you think black thugs just like a black can be racist a white can be a pur thug.

  23. Frank Talk - Jul 15, 2010 at 10:58 AM

    As usual, a Blackman can’t claim racism and devilism exists, as if he needs some validation from an Anglo-Semite. Your commentary and labeling of the Rev.’s comments, Mr. Hein, only goes to validate Mr. Jackson’s, and other’s concerns.
    Would you ever debate or question a call of “anti-Semitism? B. Netanyahu claims of “Israel defending itself?” Muslims being “extremists?” Israel getting Billions and U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum getting Millions annually, from LeBron’s ancestors; while his relatives/race gets pennies?
    I always say it. Only the Blackman has no “card” to play. All other races have a card to play, but the Blackman’s card has to be pre-approved by his very Euro-Jewish masters, nation, land he made wealthy, here.

  24. LoneStar - Jul 15, 2010 at 11:42 AM

    If LeBron had enough common sense to exit Cleveland gracefully there would have been no bitter letter from the owner or talk of (lol) slavery.
    If LeBron had made his decision to go to Miami, informed the Cavaliers, taken out an ad in the Cleveland newspaper thanking the fans & explaining his decision, dropped a check off for the Boys and Girls clubs, and quietly left town, there would have been admiration & praise for LeBron in most circles. Cleveland fans would have been hurt, but they could have accepted the decision with far less emotion.
    But the would-be-slave could not exit Cleveland in a gracious & respectful manner. He stretched his decision out as long as possible & drug Cleveland over the preverbial coals. Then he decides that rubbing the Cavalier fans’ collective noses in his decision on national TV was the best way to thank the people of Cleveland for being his biggest fans.
    LeBron is classless & the reverand jackass is a race-baiting moron for getting involved in this situation.

  25. rod - Jul 16, 2010 at 5:15 AM

    Do you know who Kurt Flood is? It was an analogy, Kurt Flood Was Kicked out of baseball because he refused to be traded. Kurt Flood id the reason we have free-agency in all sports. Look it up. “He believed that Major League Baseball’s decades-old reserve clause was unfair in that it kept players beholden for life to the team with whom they originally signed, even when they had satisfied the terms and conditions of those contracts.” December 24, 1969
    After twelve years in the major leagues, I do not feel I am a piece of property to be bought and sold irrespective of my wishes. I believe that any system which produces that result violates my basic rights as a citizen and is inconsistent with the laws of the United States and of the several States.
    It is my desire to play baseball in 1970, and I am capable of playing. I have received a contract offer from the Philadelphia club, but I believe I have the right to consider offers from other clubs before making any decision. I, therefore, request that you make known to all Major League clubs my feelings in this matter, and advise them of my availability for the 1970 season.” So Gilbert acted like he own James like he was a slave. That’s what Jackson was trying to say that there is some parallel between to 2 men. Read;;;;Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete by William C. Rhoden to understand what Jackson is talking about.

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