By BASN Wire Services ATLANTA — The sneaker industry has gone...
Playing Plantation Politics with Bryant Gumbel and David Stern
We, at Blackathlete.net, felt this article should be re-posted, especially with the Donald Sterling issue still being a hot topic on the nightly news and the 2014 NBA Draft coming up.
“I work like a slave to become a master” — Antonio Hardy a.k.a. (Big Daddy Kane)
NORTH CAROLINA (BASN) — Despite what anyone thinks, America was built on the foundation of “white supremacy and Black inferiority.” Therefore, most relationships formed between whites and non-whites are based on a “master-slave relationship.”
I see it every year around draft time, whether it’s the NFL Draft or the NBA Draft.
Surprisingly, these two highly-rated televised events look shockingly similar to the slave auctions of the past. For those that disagree or are upset with me for making this obvious comparison, let’s not forget that somewhat controversial Sports Illustrated cover with Sir Charles Barkley entitled “Charles Unchained” in which Barkley posed as a “slave” with chains around his neck, wrist and ankles.
So as you watch the NBA Draft, carefully observe how all of these white reporters, agents, PR directors, managers, coaches, executives, and owners start advising Black athletes to smile more, wear this and not that, stop looking so mean and lose the attitude.
Why? Because, they are now official property of the NBA. The key word is property. And they can be traded like cattle at anytime.
The New Form of Branding
Why? Because they are slaves to the system,” branded” by corporations like Nike, Reebok, Gatorade, Wheaties, and Hanes.
Consider Cam Newton’s situation last year in Alabama, where Under Armour apparel had a $10.6 million contract with the University of Auburn.Under that particular contract, Newton was contractually obligated to wear at less 12 to 15 logos every game.
According to Taylor Branch, an author of the new book Cartel, “Newton had four Armour logos on his helmet, one on each wristband, one on each shoe and one on his head band underneath his helmet.”
“This was all specified by the NCAA office. They said they had to be an exact size…” said Branch, a civil rights historian.
“They regulate the commercial side of sports and promote it, right down to the tiniest detail while forbidden the athlete from selling their jersey.”
Yes, these new corporate logos are a new form of branding in this system of capitalistic exploitation, where athletes provide free labor without pay, especially in college.
Sports and Slavery
Therefore, if athletes, collegiate or professionally, speak out against this injustice or act unruly, they will be “cut,” replaced, and even “shipped” overseas for their insubordination.
Yes, these NBA owners and general managers have the ability to “kill” careers with the stroke of a pen, because the pen is mightier than the sword.
As a result, they begin to braking down these young athletes physically, psychologically, spiritually and sometimes sexually as if they were “slaves” who had been traveling in packed slave ships during the Middle Passage before being dropped off in the Caribbean Islands.
Because during these NBA or NFL Combines, they are questioned, provoked, challenged, tested, weighted, measured, humiliated and “whipped” into shape for their personal entertainment.
Let’s not forget, what happened to the Dallas Cowboy first round draft pick Dez Bryant during a pre-draft interview this year in Miami when Dolphins’ general manager Jeff Ireland asked him if his mother was a prostitute.
But despite all of this probing, these young Black athletes like Bryant must remain calm and never show any sign of anger.
They, in fact, must continue to smile, bear it, and “take it like a man.”
Why? Because, nobody wants to see an angry Black man.
Men versus children
Unfortunately for all of these high-paid athletes, expressing any form of Black manhood is frowned upon by league officials.
The league officials unconsciously or consciously like to see their athletes acting childish or child-like.
In other words, they prefer them to be dumb and dribbling balls or running up and down the court or field instead of being intelligent business-minded men.
With that said, notice how NBA superstar Dwyane Wade reacted when Commissioner David Stern started pointing his finger in his face during NBA negotiations.
“Don’t point your finger at me, I’m not a child.” yelled Wade.
The Wade and Stern confrontation sparked a controversial commentary from HBO’s Real Sports host Bryant Gumbel, who is quoted as saying: “Stern’s version of what has been going on behind closed doors has of course been disputed, but his 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. It’s part of Stern’s M.O., like his past self-serving edicts on dress code and the questioning of officials. His moves were intended to do little more than show how he’s the one keeping the hired hands in their place.”
Remember what I previous stated earlier in this article that most relationships established between whites and non-whites are based upon “a master-slave relationship.”
Gumbel’s commentary highlighted this theory when he called Stern “a modern plantation overseer”
But where have we seen this type of behavior before in the NBA?
Do you remember Cleveland Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert’s “fathead remarks toward LeBron James’ when he decided to “take his talents to Miami” ?
Gilbert’s words were so harsh and mean-spirited that they prompted the Rev.Jesse Jackson, of the Rainbow Push Coalition to say, “His (Gilbert’s) feelings of betrayal personify a slave master mentality. He sees LeBron as a runaway slave.”Jackson’s statement, of course, upset a few white reporters and caused a slight uproar in the sports and entertainment world. For instance, TMZ’s Harvey “I am a Lawyer” Levin replied “that is absurd…come on.”
As Levin smirked at Jackson’s slavery comparison, one of his paparazzi storm troopers made the sarcastic joke, “You know the difference between a slave and Lebron’s situation ……about 65 million dollars,” which drew a few chuckles in the room.
Here is another classic example of that superior attitude, in which, they try to interpret our emotions and downplay our opinions on situations that affects us. I, however, suggest that they all read “40 Million Dollar Slaves” by William C. Rhoden.
After reading “40 Million Dollar Slaves”, hearing Gilbert’s rants plus analyzing Gumbel’s lastest commentary, maybe they will see things a little differently.
Eric D.Graham, a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, where he received a B.A. in Mass Communication with a concentration in Radio and Television, with a minor in History, with an emphasis in African-American Studies, is currently the Managing Editor of Black Athlete Sports Network, where his articles appear daily along with his controversial cartoon character Bobbee Bee “The Hater.” Graham can be reached at email@example.com