(still working on Danny’s Farm)
The matter of Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert’s “don’t let the door hit you on the way out” open letter to LeBron James has been mentioned in two separate instances at CSTB, but left unsaid was whether or not the Quicken Loans magnate’s comments have any sort of racial subtext. And with that, here’s excerpts from a press release issued by the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Jackson considers Gilbert’s remarks far more serious than mere venting, arguing the Cleveland owner’s meltdown has “legal and social implications for the league, its union and the character of LeBron James.”
Gilbert speaks as an owner of LeBron and not the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers. His feelings of betrayal personify a slave master mentality. He sees LeBron as a runaway slave. This is an owner employee relationship–between business partners–and LeBron honored his contract.
He must know the Curt Flood suit, which changed plantation rules and created free agency; and the Spencer Haywood suit that changed eligibility rules.
If he believes that LeBron quit in games 2, 4, 5 and 6 of the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals, then, why did he fire the coach? If he believes that LeBron intentionally quit, determining the outcome of those games, why did he pursue him and offer him and additional $120 million to stay in Cleveland?
These accusations endanger LeBron. His jersey is being burned in effigy, and he is being projected as a betrayer by the owner.
When players or coaches speak disrespectfully to or about referees, they are fined. If Mr. Gilbert cannot prove that LeBron changed games by quitting, he defames his character. He should have to face a challenge by the NBA and the players association. LeBron has every right to an apology.
Why would Gilbert try so hard to retain a pampered, protected superstar with a (recent) rep for quitting when the chips were down? There’s a bunch of reasons that come to mind (eg. he represented Cleveland’s best, if not only shot at title contention) but awfully high on the list would be Gilbert’s staff trying to sell 2011-2012 season tickets with Delonte West and Sideshow Bob (above) on the cover of the brochure.