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Bryant Gumbel compares David Stern to “plantation overseer”

Oct 19, 2011, 12:36 AM EDT

*Jul 24 - 00:05*

Bryant Gumbel closed out Tuesday night’s new episode of HBO’s Real Sports with some incendiary comments on David Stern — comments made while Stern was meeting with Billy Hunter and the players union, along with a federal mediator.

What follows is the entire closing comments, courtesy HBO (the video is below). Know that some players are saying very much this same thing when the microphones are off. Hat tip to Paulie Pabst (of the Dan Patrick Show) for pointing this out.

“Finally tonight, if the NBA lockout is going to be resolved any time soon, it seems likely to be done in spite of David Stern, not because of him. I say that because the NBA’s infamously egocentric commissioner seems more hell-bent lately on demeaning the players than resolving his game’s labor impasse.

How else to explain Stern’s rants in recent days? To any and everyone who’d listen, he has alternately knocked union leader Billy Hunter, said the players were getting inaccurate information, and started sounding chicken-little claims about what games might be lost if the players didn’t soon see things his way.

Stern’s version of what’s been going on behind closed doors has, of course, been disputed. But his efforts were typical of a commissioner, who has always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer treating NBA men as if they were his boys. It’s part of Stern’s M.O. Like his past self-serving edicts on dress code or the questioning of officials, his moves are intended to do little more than show how he’s the one keeping the hired hands in their place.

Some will, of course, cringe at that characterization, but Stern’s disdain for the players is as palpable and pathetic as his motives are transparent. Yes, the NBA’s business model is broken, but to fix it, maybe the league’s commissioner should concern himself most with a solution, and stop being part of the problem.”

This is not the first time Gumbel has willingly strode into controversial racial waters, he did the same thing talking about the NFL when Paul Tagliabue left office.

  1. Robert - Oct 19, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    If Stern is a plantation overseer, slavery on his plantation certainly looks like an attractive lifestyle to us po’ folks.


    Great comment!!

    Stern is the greatest Plantation owner in the history of mankind. Stern should be in charge of more Plantations.

    • worldbfree4me - Oct 19, 2011 at 7:37 PM

      Bob, I think you are missing the point. Right now my company is taking advantage of me personally. Before the downturn in the Economy my positioned (financial services) paid about $250K a year. I got laid off and these days banks such as Bank of America are offering about $125K. A guy like you will take that and be happy he has a job, but a guy like me will explain that because the job responsibilities are so numerous and demanding and the Bank will get nice return on my labor, I am worth the $250K and then some. The players in the NBA are no different in this regard. If an owner agrees to pay you X you are worth it to him. If ownership fails to see a return over the life of the contract, they do not have to renew it period. If you agree to play for $1 Million and I demand $10 Million the choice still lies in the hands of ownership. The player or players are not responsible for lost revenue period.

  2. bigjdve - Oct 19, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    I don’t like hearing all of the race comments. I don’t believe it is about race.

    Stern is supposed to represent the owners just as Billy Hunter represents the players. In any lockout or labor negotiation it seems that the leaders of the different sides say that the other side isn’t doing their job correctly. That isn’t just Stern and Hunter, we saw that with the NFL as well.

    Both sides are trying to drive as hard a bargain as possible, and neither side wants to give in. Unfortunately for the players, the owners (Stern) can use the threat of missed games. Unfortunately for the owners, they can’t replace the players either. So both sides are going to have to give something.

    Regarding the dress code comments, dress codes are not unreasonable. In the business world companies have the right to determine how they are perceived or represented. Employees or in this case players represent the companies (teams), so the league has the right to enforce those rules.

    When I had my AC unit replaced recently, the technician had to wear long sleeves in 95degree heat because he had tattoos on his arms. He did it because he understood the rules. I have a dress code where I work as well. Some companies have them and some don’t, it is all in what image the owners wish to purvey. That doesn’t make it racist.

    Regarding how he talks to the players, maybe he should be setting the example, however respect is earned. How much respect do they give him? What inclination does he have to give respect to people that don’t respect him? I mean just on this board we have seen where people don’t respect each other or the people that are being discussed most notably Stern and no disrespect is being shown to them directly. Imagine how you would react if all of those negative statements were directly at you, would you show respect back, I know I would find it really hard.

    Yes, he is the commish and should set the example but human is human.

    Just get the deal done, and play ball, that way the fans get their game and all the squabbling rich people can get their precious money.

  3. jollyjoker2 - Oct 19, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    Being a white person….If I could, I would say f him to his face. The average sal in the nba is almost a half a million buck and these folks live damn near like kings. This is a negotiation, stern is the representative. This type of rhetoric basically p- s s me off. You want to see racism? I will give you real racism. Maybe that’s what needs to happen. It doesn’t seem to matter what some individuals receive or get … why give anything to improve relations and bring everyone up. Your not got win anyway.

  4. rajbais - Oct 19, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    Bryant was correct! Quite frankly, David Stern is the most overrated sports commissioner of all time!!!

    If you inherit Magic, Bird, Jordan, Kobe, Shaq, and Lebron your league be well covered because sports marketers and networks are usually smart at getting and displaying talent!!!

    David Stern’s only real accomplishment staying at the post for a long time!!!

  5. herdmem - Oct 19, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    This shows what a racist Bryan Gumbel is along with being prejudice. If the roles were reversed and it would have been a while sports writer making comments about a black commissioner, everyone would be asking for his head. Hank Williams Jr. was chastise for remarks he made, witch were no different than remarks made by Gumbel. NBC kicked Hank Williams Jr. off Monday night football. If I were Stern I would ask for an apology from Gumbel, but I know he want get one. Stern has more class in his little toe than Gumbel has in all of his body. Gumbel needs to sit down and shut up and let the professionals handle this. I can see why NBC booted Gumbel.

    • Kurt Helin - Oct 20, 2011 at 12:17 PM

      For the record, ESPN kicked Hank Williams Jr. Monday Night Football.

      • jimeejohnson - Oct 22, 2011 at 9:16 PM

        Because Nazi comments are exaggerated about mainstream folks of either political party. “Are You Ready For Some Football” is an awesome intro. Politics and religion should not impinge on sports.

  6. truthjuice - Oct 20, 2011 at 1:46 AM

    Okay, let’s exchange the plantation owner analogy with the pimp analogy. No matter how much a high priced escort earns she is still a hooker, right? I guess we can agree. Stern is the pimp and he owns the players butts. Pimp, plantation owner- different concepts-same a$$holes.

  7. jimsjam33 - Oct 20, 2011 at 1:58 AM

    Let’s see . Brian Gumble wants fairness and equality for NBA players . Even the white ones , right ? Well his hate rant should be treated fairly and equally by NBC his employer . ESPN fired Hank Williams Jr. three weeks ago fr his Nazi analogy . What Gumble did deserves his azz to be thrown to the curb. Enough of the race card to increase the salaries of glorified , pampered , and spoiled ingrates . NBA players live in a fantasy land of slam dunks and golden gooses !

    • Kurt Helin - Oct 20, 2011 at 12:16 PM

      For the record, Gumbel made the comments on HBO and they are his employer, not NBC.

      • jimeejohnson - Oct 22, 2011 at 9:17 PM

        Details, shmeetails! Right (wing nuts)?

  8. overahighbar1807 - Oct 20, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    Correct me if I’m wrong; but, can’t these guys walk away from their jobs and do something else if they don’t like the way they’re treated? Bahahhahaaaaa

    Gumble is a whining racist girl.

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