Sorry if you’re tiring of basketball posts—I’ve been on a bit of a roll—but I really couldn’t pass up on the latest comment from the Rev. Jesse Jackson. (Does anyone else feel weird when they type the letters R-E-V before Jackson’s name?) Lots of people are upset about LeBron leaving Cleveland for Miami, but it’s hard to fathom in what world Jackson thought this analogy was apt:
“He speaks as an owner of LeBron and not the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers,” the reverend said in a release from his Chicago-based civil rights group, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. “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.”
I’m no spokesman for the African-American experience—and Jesse Jackson isn’t the emperor of black people—but it seems to me that comments like Jackson’s belittle the true severity of slavery and are out of touch with life in 21st century America.
The impetus was an outraged letter that Gilbert fired off after James announce he would leave for Miami. The letter was childish from its tone, to it’s finger pointing, to the comic sans font it was written in. But I don’t think it went as far as Jackson suggested.