What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
EDITOR’S NOTE: I’m going to warn you up front…The following piece revolves around a very ugly and uncomfortable topic. This piece contains some offensive language and a discussion of an even more offensive topic. If you are easily offended or are not willing to see a “bare-knuckle” discussion of race relations as they exist in America today, do not read any further.
Dear Bryant Gumbel,
For purposed of understanding the perspective of this open letter, I am an educated, black male in my 40s. You and I are in many of the same demographic categories. The major differences are you are older than me, and I am not a sanctimonious, self-serving, race-baiting asshole.
Once again, Mr. Gumbel, you’ve needlessly injected race into a situation which didn’t call for it. During Tuesday’s episode of HBO’s “Real Sports,” you made reference to slavery in describing the NBA commissioner David Stern’s treatment of players. During your end-of-show windbaggery, you alluded to Stern as “some kind of modern plantation overseer” and said the commissioner treats the players like they were “his boys” and “hired hands.”
Show some balls, Gumbel. Instead of hiding behind your not-so-subtle “code words,” why don’t you just say “Stern’s job is to keep the niggers in line?” Your words are every bit as inflammatory and hate-filled as any slur could be, and you know that. Don’t try to deny you know that. You’ve got a long track record of deliberately doing just that.
Back in 2006, according to SportsBusinessNews, you called then NFL Players Association executive director Gene Upshaw “(then NFL Commissioner) Paul Tagliabue’s personal pet.” You may as well have called him an “Uncle Tom.”
That same year, according to NewsBusters.org, you uttered the following gem about the Winter Olympics, “Try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention.” Jimmy the Greek got fired for saying blacks were “superior athletes.” Not only did you get away with it, you did it while insinuating the Republican Party might as well be the Ku Klux Klan.
Since you have been getting away with this shit for years, you felt comfortable letting loose this bit of race-based verbal diarrhea against Stern. Let’s break this down for a little game I like to call “Count the Code Words.”
“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,” Gumbel said. “I say that because the NBA’s infamously egocentric commissioner seemed more hellbent recently on demeaning the players rather than his game’s labor impasse.”
There’s #1: “demeaning.” To this day, every time I hear this word, I hear it coming out my grandmother’s mouth in Philadelphia 30 years ago on one of her deluded rants about how “Whitey” lives to “demean” successful black people. It was myopic, bigoted bullshit then, and its myopic, bigoted bullshit now.
“How else to explain Stern’s rants in recent days. To any and everyone who would 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 players didn’t soon see things his way.
Technically, there’s no code words in this paragraph, but the line “if players didn’t soon see things his way” might as well be the “Toby will be a ‘good nigger” line from “Roots.” You stop just short with the analogy; all you need is the imagery of the players as runaway slaves tied to a tied being horse-whipped by Stern. Oh, wait…you’re getting to that.
“Stern’s version of what has 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 and the questioning of officials. His moves were intended to do little more than show how he’s the one keeping the hired hands in their place.”
This paragraph is a code-word sponge; you wring it and they cascade out. Some of them I’ve already mentioned. “Plantation” and “overseer” are about as strong as code words get on this topic, but to call the players “boys” is as unacceptable as the N-bomb itself. For this alone, you should be fired.
But you won’t be fired; in fact you likely won’t face a single sanction since there is a hypocritical double-standard in the media about “hate-speech” being acceptable if it comes from certain people. Therefore, I can only expose you for the self-serving race-baiter you are and hope that America is smart enough to realize nothing you say should be given any creedence.
“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 the solution and stop being part of the problem.”
Here’s the pay-off…you can’t get good mileage out of your “hate speech” without some hate. Hence, your assertions that David Stern hates the players.
What utter rubbish.
First of all, the NBA is a business, and whether anybody wants to admit it, it is a business with a major problem. Bryant, even you allude to that in your own misguided way. The problem is that the “sweetheart” deal the players got in the last collective bargaining agreement simply can’t continue. We can argue all day long about why that is, and about who deserves what in these negotiations; that’s for another discussion. The bottom line is that the business model works, but it has a revenue problem.
This distinction is critical to understanding your overall misdiagnosis of the situation. You clearly do not understand the first thing about a business model. A business model describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value. This lockout is about the division of that captured value as expressed as revenue. Funny, but I don’t recall a time when slaves were given an opportunity to get a slice of the plantation’s revenue pie.
It doesn’t take a deep look into your slavery analogy to realize it is utterly devoid of any logic. The average NBA fan has a hard time feeling sympathy for a guy making an average salary of $5 million per year; and he certainly doesn’t look at them as a “slave.”
$5 million per year doesn’t make you a slave, it makes you an employee; an employee who makes a hell of a lot more than the average NBA fan. Not to mention, it was under David Stern’s tutelage as NBA commissioner that the average NBA salary rose from approximately $300,000 to $5 million.
So, why would you say such a stupid and inflammatory thing?
Because making such an outrageous statement draws attention. That’s it; nothing more and nothing less. You took took the horrors of slavery and used it to draw attention to yourself and your program.
Stop and think about what that means.
If you are a black person living in America today, Bryant Gumbel just cheapened the legacy of your ancestors by equating the centuries-long suffering of millions of people to a squabble between millionaires over a few dollars, all so he can claim a few more viewers for his show. Gumbel’s comments become even more offensive when you stop to consider that while the NBA is predominantly black, it is not exclusively so. Gumbel has absolutely no right to paint the entire league with his racial generalizations.
Mr. Gumbel, for the reasons I have mentioned, it is clear to me that you are an unconscionable, self-serving parasite. I will not be so presumptuous to assume to speak for anybody, but I sincerely hope that America understands what a pernicious hate-monger you really are and simply decides to have nothing more to do with you.