What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Remember the movie “Forrest Gump?” Despite the fact it’s one of the most-overrated movies of all time, it did give us the classic line “stupid is as stupid does.” Sometimes, it’s more like stupid is as stupid says.
At first, I thought Cleveland Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert had a lock on the stupid comments in the whole LeBron James-to-Miami affair. That was until Jesse Jackson opened his mouth.
CHICAGO (AP)—Jesse Jackson criticized Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert on Sunday, saying Gilbert sees LeBron James as a “runaway slave” and that the owner’s comments after the free-agent forward decided to join the Miami Heat put the player in danger.
In the aftermath of James’ announcement he was leaving Cleveland, Gilbert inserted all ten of his idiotic toes into his fat mouth by firing off an incendiary letter to Cavalier fans, ripping James and promising to deliver a title to Cleveland. He called James’ decision “cowardly” and later told The Associated Press he believes James quit during a handful of Cavaliers playoff games.
“He has gotten a free pass,” Gilbert told the AP in a phone interview late Thursday night. “People have covered up for (James) for way too long. Tonight we saw who he really is.”
Now, despite all of Gilbert’s best attempts to sound like a jilted ex-wife, Jesse Jackson decided to take the tone up to the exceptionally stupid level and flavored with a bit of race-baiting. The reverend just couldn’t help but weigh in with a press release from his Chicago-based civil rights group, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
“He 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.”
Seriously? Ok, let’s take a step back and break down what is really driving this.
First of all, Gilbert isn’t pissed off because he is a guy who bleeds Cavalier…uhh, whatever color they are wearing this week. Rather, this is a guy who bought the Cavaliers in 2005 and just watched about 60% of the net worth of his investment head south. Honestly, nobody gave a damn about the Cleveland Cavaliers pre-LeBron; what makes anybody think the post-LeBron era will be any different?
As for Jackson, call me a cynic if you must, but this is all just about getting some publicity. Face it, America has always had one black guy they are inclined to install as the “voice of the community.” Jesse Jackson got booted out of that spot by your current president. Don’t forget Jackson got caught on camera saying that he wanted to “cut Obama’s nuts off.” Despite what the revered would have you believe, he made those comments out of sheer jealousy; Obama had the audacity to take Jackson’s street corner.
What does this have to do with basketball? Actually, very little. But, it does have a lot to do with publicity. The LeBron situation garnered headline for weeks, and the cable TV special during which he announced his decision gathered the third best cable ratings of the year. Immediately after the decision, Glibert upped the temperature by releasing his idiotic statement. And right after the ratings for this prime-time sports-soap were known, there was the Reverend Jackson to get his chunk of the spotlight, because honestly, since Obama’s election, he’s become about as relevant as the Cavaliers sans LeBron.
Honestly, there was a veritable buffet of reasons to punch holes in Gilbert’s twaddle. For example, one could have pointed out that if Gilbert believed James quit during the playoffs, why would Gilbert then offer him a maximum deal to come back? Plus, why would Gilbert fire the coach if the playoff loss was LeBron’s fault? Because none of those valid point carry the incendiary value of making “slave/plantation” comments.
While it should be obvious to anybody with a pulse and a reasonably-functioning cerebral cortex that the “slavery” analogy is at best idiotic; how many slaves do you know that were worshipped as the “Chosen One,” paid an eight-figure salary, and given more media coverage than the war in which this country is currently embroiled? The real problem is “playing the race card” does the only thing it ever does; obscure the real facts of the matter.
First, the attitude about the “white owner/black-athlete-as-commodity” has persisted in sports for decades, and it is time not only to dismiss it out of hand, but those who believe it as well. Specific to this situation, it is time for everybody to understand while Gilbert has the right to feel hurt inasmuch as his bottom line just got tagged hard, but he needs to realize that public venting only reflects badly on him. Meanwhile, Cavalier fans need to grasp the idea James not only has the right to burn all the bridges he wants, he can do so without impacting his own bottom line because he has true talent.