With David Stern announcing that Dan Gilbert will be fined $100k for his Fatal Attraction open letter to Cavaliers fans berating Le Bron James for "taking his talents to South Beach" Gilbert says he "strongly disagreed with the comments made by Jesse Jackson in response to his letter."
Gilbert may disagree with Jesse Jackson all he wants but the underlying message and tone of possession and ownership in the case of Mr. James is clear. And, the fact that Mr. Gilbert is a white man at the helm of a team of mostly African-American men in a predominately African-American sport, further cements the notion that Gilbert does not see Mr. James as an equal intellectually. Gilbert's respect for James as a man is limited to what James can offer Gilbert and the Cavaliers in physical acumen only. This attitude dates back to times of slavery and oppression where African-Americans were regarded for physical ability in regards to their futures not their cerebral one.
As a conservative black woman there is little I agree with Jesse Jackson on during his self appointed throne as overseer and spokesperson for the black community where his role blurs bounces from activist to shakedown artist. In fact, a few years back, "Jesse Jackson Can We Please Move Along," was one such article that expressed my frustration at his constant race baiting and profiteering on racial issues. However, when Mr. Jackson voiced criticism to Dan Gilbert's psycho ex-girlfriend rant over the defecting LeBron James as "the mentality of a slave owner", I'm inclined to concur with Jr. Jackson on this one.
At LeBron James' decision to hold a press conference and announce his departure from the Ohio Cavaliers to the Miami Heat, Dan Gilbert -- billionaire owner of the Cavaliers and businessman -- writes in his open letter that James is "cursed", "narcissistic", and "a self appointed king" who will take his "bad karma" to the south. Gilbert further rants that James committed an act of "cowardly betrayal."
Really, Mr. Gilbert? Can someone who has made a fine and well deserved living exhibiting great business acumen fault someone for taking advantage of the power of choice? Choice and options is where true power lies. Rather than sulk and hiss, Mr. Gilbert should understand James' desire and ability to exploit his talent to the fullest extent both for his personal and financial future. After all, James' basketball career and longevity is as much about his own legacy as it is "delievering Ohio a well deserved championship."
Gilbert, as a businessman, should applaud the opportunity for an athlete to have a voice in the course of a short where longevity is no guarantee and options dwindle over time. After all, James did commit to the Cavaliers seven years. No contract was broken. No promise unhinged. No sacred oath violated.
As an owner of the Cavaliers, Mr. Gilbert is part owner of a team, not a player. In declaring James as a traitor, Gilbert reveals his thought of James as property not a partner in the relationship. Dan Gilbert's rant is an all too common example of powerful Anglo-American men being unable to accept African-Americans in a power role of industry. Rush Limbaugh is another good example. While Limbaugh is someone with whom's perspective I regularly agree and enjoy, he also has a tendency to disrespect the idea of black ownership and true power.
To be sure it is extreme to label Gilbert, or, most others who don't get what Mr. Jackson is saying, as a racist. Just as it would be absurd for anyone not to see where Jackson, a man born of an era of black oppression and white dominance, doesn't see the racial undertones in Dan Giblert's rant and in Rush Limbaugh hoping for President Obama's failure. Racism in itself is not the issue; power, however is. LeBron James became a game changer and a power player. He took the power out of the hands of Gilbert and put it in his own hands; a power never before witnessed to such a degree by an athlete in the NBA before.
Well, Bravo to LeBron James. Perhaps his evasive and mysterious meetings were a bit extravagant. And, yes, could be that a special on ESPN where he announced that Miami would bear the front of his "talents" was a little over top, but, so is all the hype over talented athletes. All I can say is at least young black children watching him will see James thinking and making his own decisions about his future and dictating a meeting on his terms. And, it's been a long time coming. If more athletes wise up, study up, and man-up off the court, we will see more of them in Dan Gilbert's ownership role.
Lisa Fritsch is a writer and national television and radio commentator who has appeared regularly on Fox News Channel and radio programs all over the country. Follow her at email@example.com.