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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. dexterismyhero - Oct 19, 2011 at 11:49 AM

    Bryant GumBall……He hasn’t been relevant for over 20 years……

    • spunjmunke - Oct 19, 2011 at 2:45 PM

      Not since they cancelled Gumble to Gumble…

      (Family Guy reference)

  2. mendy07 - Oct 19, 2011 at 11:56 AM

    The thud that you should be hearing now is Gubel’s career hitting the deck.

    The fact that there is silence is proof, once again, of the double standard.

  3. thridandlong - Oct 19, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    Oh and, Mr. Gumball, if you were blind, whom would you hate ?!?!

    You can never make the same mistake twice, because the second time you make it, it’s not a mistake, but a conscious choice.

  4. stevem7 - Oct 19, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    Bryant Gumbel is part of why race relations in this country will never advance. Put simply, neither side wants them to advance. For every white man who uses the N word, there are just as many black men using the H word and now Plantation Owner. Both sides love things just where they are and where they are going to stay forever.

  5. hockeylifer - Oct 19, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    When the NHL was in lock-out mode, Gary Bettman was spouting the same tripe as Stern is now, Where was jacka$$ Gumbel then? Oh wait, there aren’t enough black hockey players for him to waste his breath. Jacka$$!

  6. dp0609 - Oct 19, 2011 at 12:20 PM

    Is he serious? What a tool. To describe guys who make huge paychecks playing basketball for a living as slaves on a plantation is ridiculous even from this prick. Whether Stern is at fault or not or not playing nice is up for debate. But when most people are living paycheck to paycheck if they are lucky to have a job, I find it hard to have sympathy for these spoiled pains in the asses. Bryant only wants to be identified as black when complaining about some imaginary racial injustice. Seems to me life has been too good to him to be complaining about anything.

  7. shep1957 - Oct 19, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    Bryant Gumbel is an ass. His let’s make everything a racial issue is really getting old.

  8. worldbfree4me - Oct 19, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    Gumball is right. It’s all in the book, “Million Dollar Slaves” by William C Rhoden. The sports industry is not just signature aspect of the American way of life, but has also become a major component of the American economy. What distinguishes sports from other industries is the nature of its raw material: For the past 50 years, the prime raw resource in the sports industry is to extract those bodies from where they primarily reside—in the black neighborhoods of rural and urban America—and put them to work. Now a sophisticated recruiting appartus has been created for just that purpose. The apparatus is called the Conveyor Belt. —$40 Million Slaves—

    • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 19, 2011 at 1:11 PM

      Saying that Bryant Gumbel is not a race-baiting jag off because his views are similar to something that William Rhoden wrote is like saying Glenn Beck is not a race-baiting jag off because his views are similar to something that Rush Limbaugh wrote. All 4 are race-baiting jag offs.

    • rastaman44 - Oct 19, 2011 at 2:12 PM

      Worldbefree: You are preaching to a typical teabagging crowd on this board. Idiots cannot reason. Look at the stupid comments all over this board. LOL

    • overahighbar1807 - Oct 20, 2011 at 11:21 AM

      Gumble is a whining racist. So the fact that some other ass wrote a book makes it right? “What distinguishes sports from other industries is the nature of its raw material.” You HAVE to be kidding us! Have you never seen the people from those same neighborhoods, plus the poor white, poor hispanic, and every other poor ethnic neighborhood in the nation……working for minimum wage, making owners (black & white) of businesses rich? I venture to guess that not a SINGLE one of them makes enough money in a couple of years to be able to walk away from the job and live a reasonable life…..and certainly not leave his/her job every day driving a Bentley. And please correct me if I’m wrong, but ANY one of these people can walk away from their job if they don’t like it….a slave couldn’t.

  9. worldbfree4me - Oct 19, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    Sociologist Manning Marable said that some decades are worth only a year, but some years are worth an entire decade. Certainly 1963 was worth a decade.

    In June of that year, Edgar Evans, a field secretary for NAACP, was shot and killed in front of his home in Jackson Mississippi.

    In September a bomb exploded in the basement of the Fourteenth Street Baptist church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four little girls in Sunday school.

    In November, John F Kennedy, the president of the United States, was assassinated in Dallas.

    This would be the year that Dr.King delivered one of the most compelling speeches in United States history “I Have a Dream”

    Six months before the march, an event of little note but great future consequence took place in Brooklyn, New York: On February 17, 1963, Michael Jeffrey Jordan was born. Not even in his wildest dreams could Dr.King have imagined that 30 years after his address, a young black man would become the world’s best known athlete, the most recognizable American In the world, admired and revered from Shanghai to Saudi Arabia. He would be showered with the sort of acclaim, riches, and notoriety reserved for state officials. By the year 2000, Michael Jordan, basketball player, would be widely considered the greatest athlete of the twentieth century.

    Three years after Jordan was born, Stokley Carmichael coined the phrase “Black Power.”

    • havlicekstoletheball - Oct 19, 2011 at 7:56 PM

      MEDGAR Evers and STOKELY Carmichael, you dumbass.

      Before you lecture about history, try learning a bit of it first.

  10. tipstopten - Oct 19, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    Sports mouths should keep their mouths shut on labor deals.
    If the players don’t like what the owners offer go play in Europe, or Asia or maybe form their own
    league and see how much profit is left after paying themselves and all the support -vendors, arena cost,
    and taxes. Millions to put a ball in a basket is really out of bounds when Americans are out of work and hungry.

  11. dlsharley - Oct 19, 2011 at 12:58 PM

    What is really bad is that because HE is black, Gumbel will not get into any trouble for using a racist referance. If he were white, the media and everyone else would be all over him, he would lose his job, etc.

  12. Robert - Oct 19, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    I don’t agree, but an awesome comment!


  13. cowboysblowgoats - Oct 19, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    Gumbal is complete tool. When he can point out one slave who has been paid more money than the actual plantation was worth, then his “plantation” analogy might hold some water. Oh that’s right, slaves did not actually get paid to work on the plantations, they were forced to work on the plantations. How dare you play the race card you bigoted prick. The NBA is one of the few places left in America where uneducated poor black people can still make ungodly amounts of money and end their personal cycle of poverty. How dare you compare that to slavery. You should be ashamed to call yourself a journalist you hack jerk.

  14. liquidgrammar - Oct 19, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    @havlicekstoletheball Are you kidding me? Every time a black player from any league does something they’re called thugs, gangsters, or whatever. While I don’t agree with his use of racial profiling, I think Gumbel is right in his assessment of Stern. He should shut the hell up and get a deal done! Thuggery is what it is in ANY venue; just because he wears a suit he shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it!!

  15. marzxyz - Oct 19, 2011 at 1:40 PM

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

    • worldbfree4me - Oct 19, 2011 at 7:16 PM

      At every juncture in the struggle, black athletes have fought hard and then let their guard down when they thought victory was in their grasp. Inevitably, that moment of lasped vigilance was all the opening the opposition needed to strike back.     

      Black athletes have fallen prey to this again and again. When black athletes secured a toehold in the earliest versions of organized sports in— in baseball and horse racing and cycling—they settled for individual success rather than trying to use what power they had to remake a system to ensure fairness and the possibility for future success.  

  16. eldrick1 - Oct 19, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    Average annual pay for NBA “slaves” in 2011 is said to be $5.15 million.
    For that much, David Stern can tell me what to wear and how to part my hair.

  17. jamesuhte - Oct 19, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    Personally I’m not a fan of people getting fired for saying things a little controversial. However I think that in order to be fair to all Bryant should be fired for these comments. Allowing one group to get away with racial connotations because ‘it’s in their past’ furthers the divide in race relations among all. People see that it’s okay for Gumball to call Stern a plantation overseer, but had this been Bob Costas making the remark his arse would be fired today. We can’t allow racial comments to be okay for some individuals, but off-limits for others. HBO should do the right thing and remove Gumball from their network.

  18. pensfan1 - Oct 19, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    Gumbel is an idiot but it’s not the first time. If he’s as upset as he says and making these type comments why is he limiting it to just the NBA? The same thing happened with football lockout and a few years ago with the hockey lockout. No comments about “slavery” for them? Just because his favorite sport is now going through this makes it a race issue? Or is he just using it as a forum to try and promote some other agenda?

  19. whiskeyontherox - Oct 19, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    Normally I turn the channel when its time for Gumbel’s editorial but last night I watched. On first thought I was shocked that he even went there, but then I understood the point he was trying to make. A bit over the top with it but I got it.

    David Stern is not helping in the negotiation process, but stirring the pot and making it worse with these “do this or else” statements. Not the way negotiations are handled. He is picking sides when he shouldn’t be. His main goal should be helping both sides reach an agreement so the remainder of the season can be salvaged.

  20. coolmikeperry - Oct 19, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    Read $40 Million Slaves : The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete
    by William C. Rhoden.

    • overahighbar1807 - Oct 20, 2011 at 11:26 AM

      So the fact that some other ass wrote a book makes it right?

  21. averagejoelemon - Oct 19, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    Bryant Gumbel couldn’t join my country club. We try to keep out the dicks.

  22. acieu - Oct 19, 2011 at 3:57 PM


  23. materialman80 - Oct 19, 2011 at 3:59 PM

    What a bunch of BS from Gumbel as usual. I wish I was paid half as much as those NBA “slaves”. I contend they are paid a lot more then they are worth. This is the greedy vs the greedy, nothing more.

  24. birmy - Oct 19, 2011 at 4:03 PM

    This may be one of the last times we ever hear of claims of racism when those persecuted against are multi-millionaires, making more in 1/2 a year than most make over a lifetime. Very bizarre comment by Gumbel. I don’t know how many african americans there are in NBA versus “other” but does anyone believe Stern would not drive a hard bargain if the players were all caucasian?

    Gumbel should stick up for the high percentage of blacks out of work or go volunteer his time to help the unemployed (black and white) instead of making incendiary comments that lack any logic whatsoever. Sorry, NBA players, black and white are not being persecuted against. Nice try.

  25. bigtrav425 - Oct 19, 2011 at 4:26 PM

    Cant say i disagree with Bryant at all….Stern is a nazi scumbag as is goodell the nfl commissioner

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