Blog Entry

Bryant Gumbel evokes slavery in David Stern rant

Posted on: October 19, 2011 2:16 am
Edited on: October 19, 2011 12:56 pm
Posted by Ben Golliverbryant-gumbel

NBA commissioner David Stern sat through more than 16 hours of labor negotiations on Tuesday and into Wednesday morning, but the harshest words aimed at him came from outside the bargaining room.

Emmy-winning television commentator Bryant Gumbel closed Tuesday night's episode of HBO's Real Sports with a pointed editorial aimed at Stern, whose league has made little progress in negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement since it locked out its players on July 1.

Gumbel's statement evoked slavery with reference to a "plantation," "boys" and "hired hands". Gumbel and a vast majority of NBA players are African-American. Stern is not. The following is a transcript of his editorial. 

"Finally, tonight, if the NBA lockout is going to be resolved any time soon, it seems likely to be done in spite of David Stern, not because of him," Gumbel said. "I say that because the NBA's infamously egocentric commissioner seemed more hellbent recently on demeaning the players rather than his game's labor impasse.

"How else to explain Stern's rants in recent days. To any and everyone who would listen, he has alternately knocked union leader Billy Hunter, said the players were getting inaccurate information, and started sounding 'Chicken Little' claims about what games might be lost if players didn't soon see things his way. 

"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. 

"Some will of course cringe at that characterization but Stern's disdain for the players is as palpable and pathetic as his motives are transparent. Yes, the NBA's business model is broken. But to fix it, maybe the league's commissioner should concern himself most with the solution and stop being part of the problem."

Here's the video of Bryant Gumbel's editorial against NBA commissioner David Stern.

These are not Gumbel's first controversial remarks concering racial issues.

In 2006, reports that Gumbel had harsh words for then NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue and then National Football League Players Association executive director Gene Upshaw.

"Before he cleans out his office, have Paul Tagliabue show you where he keeps Gene Upshaw's leash," Gumbel said. "By making the docile head of the players union his personal pet, your predecessor has kept the peace without giving players the kind of guarantees other pros take for granted. Try to make sure no one competent ever replaces Upshaw on your watch."

In reference to the 2006 Winter Olympics, reports that Gumbel said: "Try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention."
Back in March, Minnesota Vikings All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson made a reference to slavery during the NFL's recent lockout.

"It's modern-day slavery, you know?" Peterson said. "People kind of laugh at that, but there are people working at regular jobs who get treated the same way, too." 

Hat tip: ProBasketballTalk

Since: May 24, 2011
Posted on: October 19, 2011 4:41 pm

Bryant Gumbel evokes slavery in David Stern rant

I sure hope the NBS settles this mess soon or our country's prison population will explode over the next couple of months!!

Since: Mar 17, 2008
Posted on: October 19, 2011 4:40 pm

Bryant Gumbel evokes slavery in David Stern rant

this idiot is calling someone else egocentric?!?

he's been trying to get himself back in the news for years by trying to make everything "controversial" .   a has been for years.

Since: Sep 28, 2011
Posted on: October 19, 2011 4:38 pm

Bryant Gumbel evokes slavery in David Stern rant

Really Gumbel? Are you really playing the race card here. These players get paid miliions and millions of dollars. Why? Because they play basketball. Period. THEY PLAY A GAME AND ARE PAYED VERY WELL FOR DOING SO. Wow, those owners are real slave drivers. They take all the financial risks, lose money every season and still pay the players. How is that fair? How is that racist? Idiots like Bryant Dumbell have no idea what racism is. What was done to african americans in the past was nothing short of horrible. I doubt that 100 years from now kids will be learning about all the struggles the black NBA player went through during the lockout. I doubt anyone will be wearing a K.G jersey 100 years from now in febuary to honor his struggles during black history month. Give me a break. Give the world a break. The U.S is in the middle of a finacial crisis, many people are out of jobs, losing their homes, and we're supposed to feel some sympathy for K.G and the rest of those jokers because their not getting theirs. Piss off Gumbel, and piss off all NBS players, black or white who can't be happy with an annuual salary of 5 million

Since: Oct 27, 2008
Posted on: October 19, 2011 4:30 pm

Bryant Gumbel evokes slavery in David Stern rant

Do keep in mind that the players are not all black...Some of them are white.  The NBA being compared to slavery is a big stretch, but consider the sort of long term health issues and lack of insurance coverage NFL players have to endure.  The NFL truly is organized slavery in comparison.  The NFL owners make more profit that alot of fortune 500 companies, yet the players are not fairly compensated.  And be real a 300+ lb.  former lineman is not easily finding work in the private sector after an injury shortened career. 

Since: Sep 12, 2007
Posted on: October 19, 2011 4:11 pm

Bryant Gumbel evokes slavery in David Stern rant

I'm sure Mr. Gumbel wasn't making an analogy to slavery.  It's just a coincidence that Mr. Gumbel is African-American, and most of the NBA players are African-Americans, and Mr. Stern is white.  I'm sure that Mr. Gumbel was referring to some other plantation system where the workers weren't black, the compensation was determined by negotiations where lawyers represented the workers, and the overseerers weren't white.  I just can't quite place where that was.

Since: Jul 9, 2008
Posted on: October 19, 2011 3:53 pm

Bryant Gumbel evokes slavery in David Stern rant

If getting paid 5 million a year or more is the new definition of slavery, I am all in.  I am not a fan of Stern, however, it seems like every chance this country gets anymore we are using the word slavery.  Ironically, I have heard it a lot in sports where people are making millions of dollars and claiming to be abused like slaves. 

Since: Sep 13, 2007
Posted on: October 19, 2011 3:30 pm

Bryant Gumbel evokes slavery in David Stern rant

I thought Bryant Gumbel was white?

Since: Dec 4, 2010
Posted on: October 19, 2011 3:25 pm

Bryant Gumbel evokes slavery in David Stern rant

I had forgotten Gumbel was on TV.  Now I know why.  I wonder IF MJ is one on those "plantation slave masters" of whom he rants?  Peterson, Sapp and now,'s sad.

Since: Sep 1, 2010
Posted on: October 19, 2011 3:20 pm

Bryant Gumbel evokes slavery in David Stern rant

This is not Gumbels first rodeo with this sort of rant.  Can you imagine if the shoes were reversed and a white sportsbroadcaster made similar or the same remarks?  He'd be out of a job.  How does a network, the public, society permit one group to speak freely, yet hold another group to a higher standard.  I believe that the players are employees and extremely well paid, no matter what their color.  For this league or any Pro league to be considered or compared to trading slaves, you would have to have Black Players being taken advantage of when compared to their peer-while players.  You simply don't have it...Black, Whites, Latin, Indian or whatever race are contractually paid based upon their stats and potential.  If any player does not like it, they are free to resign, sit out, quit, walk away or whatever.

All these guys are overly paid for a thing they all love to do..Owners have all the risk of:

Filling seats
Other employees
Other contracts for added revenue

Players show up, play and get their paychecks-just like the blue and white collar workers do everyday...To put these guys on pedestals like they deserve more revenue is Greedy when the risk of the team and the org is not theirs...They did not buy the team, they don't make the schedules, arrange with Refs, pay the staff, deal with CPA's, etc....

It will only take one of the leagues to miss 1/2 or and entire season to realize, that the players are idiots...It needs to occur to get things in order..Society has gone nuts!  A bunch of entitled idiots out there and Gumble wants to be a ring leader for the bozos.

Gumble should be fired for his remarks.  They are simply racist!  Oh, we can't say there is reverse discrimination, can we.



Since: Oct 29, 2007
Posted on: October 19, 2011 3:15 pm

Bryant Gumbel evokes slavery in David Stern rant

Does anybody have any of the owners phone numbers?  I'd like to sell myself to them for the paltry sum of $500K a year.  I know it's slightly above the league minimum but in order for me to endure the enslavement I think it's fair. 

In all seriousness, it shows how out of touch Gumbel is.  I don't know the exact number of NBA players but I'll assume it's about 400.  400!  I'd have to estimate that the "normal" people employed by NBA teams such as parking lot attendants, ushers, maintenance staff, gift shop clerks, janitors, security, etc. number in the 1000s.  I'd like to think those are the people that Gumbel is campaigning for but sadly, I'm sure that it's the overpaid millionaires that he is defending.  I'd be willing to bet that 95% of the players just want to play and would take the proposed deal in a heartbeat and that is what would be done in a true union.  Unfortunately, it seems as if the union only cares about the handful of superstars making 10 million +.

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