Skip to content

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. davidly - Jul 12, 2010 at 5:04 AM

    Reggie is the minor misspelling of what? You’re getting smarter every minute!

  2. Miner - Jul 12, 2010 at 5:12 AM

    Yep, these comments cover a large sprectrum of the race issue. Not all but it does cover some basic points:
    Yes I have a black neighbor who is the best man I have ever meet in my life be they white or be they black, my neighbor is a good man. I say this every chance I get because he just one of the really good people in this world.
    Yes, I am white and over 50. I attended a mostly black high school in southern WV.
    Yes, a lot of white people are racist.
    Yes, a lot of black people are racist.
    Yes, black people can be racist despite what we are told.
    Yes, racism in white and blacks run the entire spectrum from ‘just different and they make me uncomfortable’ to I hate everyone of you and wish you were all dead. These are the harsh ones and they are very set in their ways.
    Yes, Jesse Jackson is a racist and an idiot who loves the press.
    Yes, Jesse has become rich preaching his racist drivel.
    Yes, Al Sharpton will use any occasion to get his picture on the news. I also consider Al more of an idiot than Jesse.
    NO!! Not a one of these type of folks have the nerve that Rosa Parks exhibited by refusing to give up her seat. Great Lady, YES!!!! Someone I admire very much.
    Yes, some younger blacks have more hate than they should, having never experienced what their parent and grandparents endured.
    Yes, the older blacks had to put up with a lot but you know what, they did it so their children could go to college and be something that was denied to them because of skin color.
    Yes, this is what the United States is about, working to make sure your children progress further than you in life. Be it money, status, power, job fulfillment…..our children just need to advance further.
    Yes, young whites are wasting golden opportunities in education and by extension jobs with the Generation Y crap. Selfishness and laziness, can’t say they are the Y’ers driving factors but they are key factors allowing the downfall of this particular generation of white people.
    Yes, young blacks are wasting golden opporturinties in education by holding onto feelings and emotions handed down from the parents and grandparents. Most of the parents and grandparents certainly have a right to feel that way they feel but the younger generation must move ahead. With the white Generaton Y this is the generation for blacks to really make a move in the business world.
    Yes, or more apt ‘Believe it or Not’, I worked with a black man who got a promotion to division head. A very nice position and hotly contested. The black man got the job and when asked about it he said he only got it because he was black. I asked,’So if you hadn’t got it, that would have been because….?’ He said ‘I wouldn’t have got it because I was black’. White people cannot win in this type of scenerio, damned and you do and damned if you don’t. Something to think about.
    Sorry for so much but I could go on all night. Just trying to make everyone realize that the United States is truly a land of opportunity for everyone who is willing to work for it. We don’t all succeed but when we fail it’s not always because of our skin.
    Lebron James is no more than today’s newpaper article but it’s what the rest of us do that will matter when it is all said and done. Raise your children, teach them about God, respect and the value of hard work and you will have started them down the right path to success.

  3. cuzzenbud - Jul 12, 2010 at 5:21 AM

    Yeah…..I put my foot in my mouth on this one. After re-reading my posts, I see your point; I got the whole name wrong! Twice!

  4. Jones - Jul 12, 2010 at 5:29 AM

    Before I knew anything about Jesse Jackson’s comments, Gilberts comments made me feel as if he owned Lebron. Lebron is a grown man that filled his obligation to Gilbert and the Cavs and does not deserve to be defamed by the owner. Lebron does not owe anything to Gilbert, the Cavs or the city of Cleveland. Why would a savvy businessman like Gilbert do that? Because he thought he owned and could control Lebron. That’s what make black people think back to slavery.

  5. Randall - Jul 12, 2010 at 5:31 AM

    The Right Rev. Jesse Sharpton really needs to STFU on topics that don’t concern him/them. Which is 98% of topics they decide to run their necks about.

  6. Randall - Jul 12, 2010 at 5:51 AM

    The Right Rev. Jesse Sharpton really needs to STFU on topics that don’t concern him/them. Which is 98% of topics they decide to run their necks about.

  7. Ashamed of this whole thread - Jul 12, 2010 at 5:56 AM

    Holy crap, shut up. Racism doesn’t end just because we have a black man in the White House. Educate yourself.

  8. Cvale - Jul 12, 2010 at 6:09 AM

    Jessie is a has been, washed up, non entity, in today’s body politic. He is not new to controversy , one only has to harken back to the days he wanted ” Ebonics” recognized as a legitimate, his ” Hymie” remarks of years past, and his comments vis-a-vis Obama during the last presidential campaign. He was nothing more than a rhyming pastor who took advantage of the MLK assassination in an attempt to burnish his credentials. Rapping’ reverend would be more apt. Typical of many in the movement of the day he embellished his credentials, his bank account, and his importance to the American discourse on race, forever playing the race card, the victim card. Lest we forget his sexual peccadilloes, his questionable financial dealings ( i.e.: Coca Cola ) Jessie is nothing but a wandering moth attracted to the last bit of fading light before the sun comes up on a new day. His relevance being measured by a 30 second clip on a cable news show.

  9. Malik - Jul 12, 2010 at 6:17 AM

    It’s all just an excuse to play the race card and try to get unneeded attention. And as far as money, LeBron is only getting a little over $20m less than he was in Clevland, and FL doesn’t have a state tax, so really, he’s making about the same or more in FL. Look up OH’s state luxury tax as well as their state income tax. LeBron knew how the pay would work, and good for him. This is all a business, and he wanted to go where it was better for him. Yea, Gilbert is a douchebag, but that rant was anything but racist. Get over yourself and stop looking for an excuse to be bitter about your life.

  10. Cvale - Jul 12, 2010 at 6:18 AM

    Well said Bob;
    The Rainbow coalition extorted major corporations for funding with the promise to layoff them vis-a-vis their “racial” credentials. One only has to look back at thew deal Jessie did with Coca Cola/

  11. james - Jul 12, 2010 at 6:22 AM

    Jessie should just mind his own business some people say his wife should have left him in his own mistakes in life. This deal with miami should be investigated if the owners or gm or president of an nba organization can get penalize for doing the same thing that wade , bosh and lebron did over the course of a year, how they publicly said and planned this out, the organization would be fined. This deal should be investgated and voided. players should be held accountable for being a part of the organization. Didnt the rules change long ago when teams like boston and la bought players to make their teams because they had the money and power to buy players. Wade initalized this a long time before mid season. Just hold everybody accountable for their action. INVESTIGATE AND VOID. Every team now can have their stars to talk other stars to entice the to come to their franchise.
    a bulls fan

  12. josh - Jul 12, 2010 at 6:23 AM

    jackson should be censored. not one person on earth thought gilbert’s comments were akin to a ‘master-slave’ relationship. only jackson would or could bring something like that into the argument and just hurt his cause even further, which is equal rights and respect for all. what a joke this man is.

  13. james - Jul 12, 2010 at 6:29 AM

    Jessie should just mind his own business some people say his wife should have left him in his own mistakes in life. This deal with miami should be investigated if the owners or gm or president of an nba organization can get penalize for doing the same thing that wade , bosh and lebron did over the course of a year, how they publicly said and planned this out, the organization would be fined. This deal should be investgated and voided. players should be held accountable for being a part of the organization. Didnt the rules change long ago when teams like boston and la bought players to make their teams because they had the money and power to buy players. Wade initalized this a long time before mid season. Just hold everybody accountable for their action. INVESTIGATE AND VOID. Every team now can have their stars to talk other stars to entice the to come to their franchise.
    a bulls fan

  14. Anonymous - Jul 12, 2010 at 6:32 AM

    ughh racism yet again, who sold the blacks to the white man? sure as hell wasnt the white man FACT. so many opinions so little knowledge of history. but thats fine, society wants you all fighting amongst yourselves, god forbid we have equality, less to argue about and get on with the real issues of our time in history like poverty and war…consider it a distractionary tactic to keep everybody down and to have you all do the hard work on an issue that only takes understanding to get passed, not hard right? obviously for jesse and his ability to hold onto decades of hate feels revenge and accountability is his only true method of compensating his own personal racism against the white man. Without a scoreboard ppl like jesse are irrelevant and he fails miserably to understand his own intelligence is better served in progression not compression of the past.
    the one thing everyone fails to address is the manner of lebrons departure and interestingly (the only interesting thing in this story) jesse takes the same road in his attacks on gilbert, behind the media, infront of the camera, and also..not in gilberts office….man to man. fail, gilbert made every attempt to communicate with lefrauds team. remember that.

  15. Wyclef LeBacle - Jul 12, 2010 at 6:35 AM

    When is JesseJackass going to understand that the 3 biggest racists in America are Al Sharpton, Spike Lee and Jesse himself ?

  16. Nick - Jul 12, 2010 at 6:36 AM

    Jackson can lick my filthy.
    BTW, throughout all of this mess, DWade has retained the Ugliest Player in the NBS title.

  17. Greatestoftheseislove - Jul 12, 2010 at 6:49 AM

    JJ hates it when he doesn’t have the first opportunity to go on a rant about something himself. He loves media attention and also gets it by playing the race card. Who cares what JJ thinks–I am sick and tired of him getting so much media attention for spreading hate and division. He needs to get a read job!

  18. davidly - Jul 12, 2010 at 6:51 AM

    Imagine this: You’ve logged over 40 minutes in a game, and along with a triple double, grabbed 19 rebounds. Your owner – excuse me, the owner of your team says in a letter on the official team website that you “quit” during this very game.
    Now imagine a field worker achieving similar productivity in a single afternoon, only to have the plantation owner publicly question your work ethic.
    Now it ain’t that he’s goin’ to toil in greener pastures, mind you, but the high falutin’ way he done it, dag nabit!

  19. Anonymous - Jul 12, 2010 at 6:53 AM

    The comment Rev. Jackson made is just plain stupid. I am black and don’t feel that Gilbert’s comment was racist, but I do feel Rev. Jackson’s comment is race baiting. No need to go that far. Gilbert felt betrayal to himself and the Cleveland fans. Lebron was their franchise,the man was willing to accomodate him with his wishes to get the job done. His feelings are understable to me. When Lebron and his team lost in the play-off, his body language made me feel he was taking off his Cleveland shirt for the last time. The guy is young and need better advice, because as fans thats who he really has to loyal to. No need to play games when the Decision was a done deal. Fans are passionate and loyal, he was not.
    Mary

  20. Lalio - Jul 12, 2010 at 7:06 AM

    I for one am sick & tired of the retorical CRAP that spews from the mouth of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. They DO NOT represent the views of the majority of African Americans. Just ask most Black Americans if you don’t believe me.
    They think that they speak from a position of authority, when in fact they have NO authority and are not experts on Race relations.
    In fact both of them are “Loud Mouth” womanizers that have had numerous extra-marital affairs. Yet the media gives them creedance for being experts.
    Our country will never get past the racism that has pervaded our society until these to men are regarded as the ridulious buffaoons that they are.

  21. Mero - Jul 12, 2010 at 7:17 AM

    Really! What the f… are you talking about? You and the Rev must have the same dealer to be on the same that slavery crap! Do you want to know why Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are not taken serious any more? Cause of BS like this, they try to make some thing out of nothing,and retards just jump on the band wagon, A cop defends himself from a black girl hitting him and he’s racist! Come on now, Its sad ro say, but the 1 giant step we took forward with Obama looks smaller and smaller when ever one of your so called leaders open their mouths and you fallow! This was just a business deal, not a slave and master BS you are talking about.

  22. Patrick D. Gaul - Jul 12, 2010 at 7:25 AM

    One thing about the Rev. Jackson, he sure does know how to leverage a story to his advantage. So this morning we are all reading and talking about a man who has essentially disappeared from the national limelight, except when something like the contention between Gilbert and LeBron surfaces. Then the Rev. Jackson comes out with a comment that is absolutely determined to get the nation focused on race and the never-ending struggle between black and white in America. Funny thing about it. I respect Jesse Jackson for all that he did during the civil rights movement to affect change and I respect him for having put his life on the line for what he believed. It is just unfortunate that he finds it necessary to make comments like this one that serve no purpose other than to focus attention on him. LeBron and his agents handled the situation poorly and Gilbert is, for the most part, justifiably angry. I think Gilbert’s rant was out of line and unnecessary – one man does not win a championship in the NBA or any other “team” sport, thus the term “team”. LeBron did not intentionally give-up or quit, or at least that is my opinion based on having watched the games. Is he a spoiled NBA superstar? Absolutely! But compared to some superstars today who are being charged with rape (or purchased their way out of rape charges), assault, DUI, manslaughter, etc., LeBron is a poster-child for professional sports. The fact that he was willing to take $15M to $20M less to position himself and his team-mates to win an NBA Championship does not make him a villain, no matter what Gilbert writes. And being angry and feeling betrayed does not make Gilbert a racist. Sorry Jesse. This rant is simply too out of sync with what is actually happening to be worth all this attention.

  23. toksino - Jul 12, 2010 at 7:29 AM

    Any body who thinks that is not some what about race?Is either a fool or white.I lived in America for over 12yrs.And although it is the greatest country in the world.It is also one of the most racist countries i have ever lived in.And i have lived in spain,uk,Canada,chzeck republic,Romania and a few countries in Africa.Most whites for no reason i can see automatically think that they are smater or better just because they are white.And the cops think that killing or beating blacks is what they are hired for.If you are black in America you would be a fool to trust any white person.

  24. Adjua Acquah - Jul 12, 2010 at 7:35 AM

    What I don’t understand is WHY James had or was expected to “give notice” to Gilbert. If Glbert were going to get rid of James or any other owner going to get rid of any player, is there any Notice served? UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENT, who does not understand that? So why then would James HAVE to do the same for Gilbert? Am no fan of Jackson but he hit this one spot on. And for those who don’t get it, you won’t ever get it but just because you don’t get it does not mean it isn’t true. For all of you self-imposed intellectuals sitting up at 1 am in the morning on the interent posting comments about this non-story, please edify those of us lay-persons on the history of this slave master mentality. As I recall, it wasn’t Black folks who invented racism but Black folks know it when they see it.

  25. Fang - Jul 12, 2010 at 7:47 AM

    He IS the biggest racist in this country….its always about being a slave….get over it….the next couple generations are better because of the guys 40 years ago….move on

1 3 4 5 6 7 15
Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Could Sixers be worst team in NBA history?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (9074)
  2. D. Wade (7692)
  3. P. Gasol (6925)
  4. K. Durant (6157)
  5. D. Howard (5970)
  1. K. Martin (5520)
  2. T. Jones (5027)
  3. R. Westbrook (4969)
  4. O. Asik (4947)
  5. D. Lee (4600)