Monday, July 12, 2010
The Rev. Jesse Jackson blasted the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers Sunday for treating Miami-bound LeBron James like a “runaway slave.”
The civil rights leader slammed owner Dan Gilbert for calling James “disloyal” and “a coward” in an open letter to Cavaliers fans.
“He speaks as an owner of LeBron and not the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers,” Jackson told The Associated Press. “His feelings of betrayal personify a slave-master mentality. He sees LeBron as a runaway slave.”
Moments after James, 25, who was born and raised in Ohio, announced in a hour-long ESPN special Thursday that he was going to South Florida, Gilbert ripped his former franchise player.
“You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal,” Gilbert told Cleveland’s long-suffering fans on the Cavaliers Web site.
Gilbert called James “narcissistic” and “heartless.” He even put a hex on the two-time NBA MVP, writing “the self-declared former ‘King’ will be taking the ‘curse’ with him down South.”
Jackson described Gilbert’s lambasting of James as “mean, arrogant and presumptuous” – and an insult to NBA players who choose to exercise their labor rights.
“LeBron is not a child, nor is he bound to play on Gilbert’s plantation and be demeaned,” Jackson said. “He has been a model citizen and has inspired the children of Akron, Cleveland, the state of Ohio and the United States.”