Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bryant Gumbel Insults African Americans

First, let me say that I am not a fan of Sportscaster Bryant Gumbel.  As I far as I am concerned, he is a member of the IASWICHSI* Club who blesses us humble beings with his words.  When he sticks to sports, he is merely annoying.  However, his latest comment comparing NBA labor-management conflicts with slavery is way off the mark.

David Stern
He said that David Stern's "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." Gumbel said, "It’s part of Stern’s M.O. Like his past self-serving edicts on dress code or the questioning of officials, his moves are intended to do little more than show how he’s the one keeping the hired hands in their place." 

NBA Owner Jordan
How can anyone in the world feel sorry for these athletes whose average salary is $4.8 million.  According to Rich Walcoff in the San Francisco Examiner, "in the last quarter of a century while the typical American saw his annual compensation increase about 160 percent, NBA players pay shot up 1,500 percent."

Any comparison with the horrors of slavery is absurd.  Heck comparing the NBA players to any working man or woman is absurd.  Gumbel's remarks are an insult to Black Americans and others who fought long and hard to free themself from slavery and gain their civil rights. 

This is the third time Gumbel has played the race card in sports commentaries.  It is most unfortunate because sports has played such an important role in improving race relations and breaking down racial barriers.  Are we there yet.  Absolutely not. 

In addition, Gumbel's remarks were laced with anti-Semitic undertones.  Attacking Stern and other NBA owners who are Jewish.  This dispute is not a black and white thing or a black and Jew issue.  It's a labor and management conflict. We do have white players in the NBA and some of them actually lead their team to a championship. 

In an ESPN editorial Shaun Powell said that "It always annoyed Stern that the company he controlled, and the men in the owners' club, didn't reflect the same color of the players on the floor. And so not long after he became commissioner, Stern went about fixing the flaw. The NBA offices took on a different complexion, but that was small stuff. Stern wanted black representation at the highest level. He wanted to crash the old-boy network. He wanted to go where no commissioner had gone before (or since). And so Stern sought black ownership, even at the risk of his own reputation."

Gumbel and HBO should apologize for his remarks to both the Jewish and African American community.

* I Am So Wonderful I Can Hardly Stand It

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