The Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr. must believe he has some sort of "insight" to know what is in the hearts of men, especially white men with money. Jackson says he knows why Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert publicly ripped into former Cav's superstar LeBron James after James announced he would leave Cleveland to play for the Miami Heat:
Jackson said Gilbert's comments were "mean, arrogant and presumptuous."
"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.
It's gratifying to me to know that Jackson has these "powers" to see into the hearts of those like Dan Gilbert.
It's a given that Jackson, as well as his infamous "spiritual" cohort Rev. Al Sharpton, will "find" a motive of racism in everything wealthy white men do and/or say. Let's just see if Jackson's statements hold up to scrutiny.
Cavs' owner Dan Gilbert bought the team in 2005. At the time, James was already a superstar on the team, although I can't find a record for how much he was paid by the team during this period (even before being drafted out of high school in 2003, James had signed a multi-year $90 million endorsement deal with Nike). Fast forward about 18 months and James signed a 4-year $60 million contract extension with the Gilbert-owned Cavaliers, which put James first on the list of richest income earners who are under 25-years old for the June, 2006 - June, 2007 period.
Now if I remember my history, I don't remember reading about slaves who were signed to 4-year contracts worth the pre-Civil War equivalent of $60 million dollars to stay working on a plantation. I also remember that when slaves voluntarily left a plantation, that is, escaped, the owner of the slave usually did a little more than write an open letter; the slave owner usually worked to get the slave back, especially since the law at the time gave the federal government power to assist. There was nothing in Gilbert's letter that even hints the Cavs' owner was going to work to forcibly have James returned to the team. As even Jackson notes, LeBron James completed his contractual obligations and was free to leave the Cavaliers. Nothing in Gilbert's letter contradicts this. But of course, the Reverend Jackson knows more about what is in the heart of rich whitey, right?
What is simply amazing in the AP report is that there is nothing indicating Jackson knew how much Gilbert was paying James the previous four years, although it is obvious Jackson knew that there had been a contract. The AP did attempt to contact various people:
Messages were left Sunday night seeking comment from Gilbert, the Cavaliers and James...
NBA spokesman Tim Frank declined comment.
Despite the fact that AP pulled Jackson's statement from an Operation PUSH press release, nowhere does it indicate AP sought further comment from Jackson. What it does is allow the completely irrelevant Jackson to involve himself in things he has no business getting involved in. I think Michael Ciric of Chicago Now said it best when he called the James-Gilbert dust-up "a very public divorce. Nothing more." But the proper perspective when looking at an incident such as this isn't in the ("race") cards for a race-baiting bigot like the Reverend Jesse Jackson.
Apparently, the AP didn't attempt to contact President Obama to find out if he thought Gilbert, but not James (or Jackson), acted stupidly.
(Hat tip: Lucianne.com)