Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
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: Oct 9, 2010
Posted on: October 19, 2011 5:34 pm

Bryant Gumbel evokes slavery in David Stern rant

Bryant must think he needs some attention.  Don't watch real sports but do listen to Greg calling CBS games almost every week.  Must hate the fact that he is no longer the more famous Gumble.  I also don't agree with his take that Stern is the one calling the shots here.  He is an employee of the NBA owners.  If the owners tell Stern to try and break the players union, that's what he will do.  The owners are the ones that are writing the checks to undeserved players, and although that is their fault, they have an obligation to correct it to protect owners that can no longer sustain those player expenditures.  Otherwise, teams start to fold, and the overpriced postions that the players are trying to hold on to will start to disappear althogether.

I have said several times that the owners should have never given up on the hard cap.  By caving on the hard cap it told the players that the owners would be willing to cave on everything else.  Now with a mediator involved, I'm starting to believe the players are going to walk away winners.  Which will solve nothing and will put the league in the same position its in now, with the same problems.  Creating a uniform playing level in the NFL directly led to more TV money, and because teams are not tied down with contracts that the player is not living up to, they can cut the player and get a better one, creating a better product to sell.  Instead we have to watch players in the NBA that can't play defense or for some reason hit an 18-foot jumper.  

Play the season or don't, I don't care.  Which is the NBA's biggest problem, a lot of people don't care, which will only become worse since nothing will have changed.  And Mr. Gumble, I have never been a fan of David Stern, but in this case he is doing his job.

Since: Sep 2, 2006
Posted on: October 19, 2011 5:29 pm

Bryant Gumbel evokes slavery in David Stern rant

GUMBALL, yes I called him GUMBALL becasue that is what he does not even have the intelligence of, should be FIRED by HBO immediately! End of story. He is the most racist ass thay ever put a microphone in front of. Hwll, if I were David Stern, I would be suing him in a blind second.

Since: Aug 1, 2008
Posted on: October 19, 2011 5:25 pm

Bryant Gumbel evokes slavery in David Stern rant

Gumbel never tires of saying the wrong thing.  The comments were aimed at Stern, but I'll better the NBAPA is quick to distance themselves from this idiot.

Since: Sep 25, 2006
Posted on: October 19, 2011 5:17 pm

Bryant Gumbel evokes slavery in David Stern rant

Millionaire athletes are being compared to slaves? Good grief this overpaid idiot is out of touch. There's people of all races doing brutal, humiliating jobs for a fraction of the wage these days.  Bryant Gumbel should be thanking the Lord he's made a living off of spewing such oral diarrhea. I am not going to lump the NBA players in with Gumbel because hopefully they're not as delusional as this bozo.

Since: Jun 2, 2010
Posted on: October 19, 2011 5:15 pm

Bryant Gumbel evokes slavery in David Stern rant

gumbel is a piece of garbage!!.......why is it that everything always has to be tied with race when owners and players do not see eye to eye at the negotiating table.....this man should be fired but he won't......political correctness here......and why does gumbel complain about there not being enough black baseball players in mlb.......the reason is simple mr. brain surgeon athletes don't want to play the game!!.....they would rather play football and basketball instead!!....but i guess in your twisted mind it is all whiteys fault because blak players find baseball boring and have zero intrest in it.

Since: Oct 14, 2010
Posted on: October 19, 2011 5:11 pm

Bryant Gumbel evokes slavery in David Stern rant

I had a lot of great stuff to say but posters like BuckeyeBobT have written brilliantly and accurately.  Gumbel is the racist and if the owners/managers of the stations that carry him care, we would be glad if he would just go away.  He is not much of a journalist and if he is being paid to be controversial and stir up the public he must be overpaid.  Anyone can write his rant.  Anyone can provoke disagreement and contentiousness. Any one of us can slap Bryant around with our rhetoric.  BuckeyeBob and several others just did it.

Since: Feb 8, 2011
Posted on: October 19, 2011 5:10 pm

Bryant Gumbel evokes slavery in David Stern rant

He's not a reverse racist (not sure what the eff that means) He's a racist pure and simple. Anyone who views all things through the color of someones skin and bases all their views on skin color is a racist. The real crime in this is that he has a pulpit and uses it to spread his hate. And it is hate...just listen to him. Any one who's points of view revolve around your race and beleives that every issue is race related and spreads hate with their words are racist.

I have no time for anyone like that.

Since: Jul 30, 2009
Posted on: October 19, 2011 5:03 pm

Bryant Gumbel evokes slavery in David Stern rant

Gumbel and many of his African American racist friends; have for years attaked MLB for not having enough blacks in the majors.  The fact is Blacks make up 12.5% of our population.  So having 10% of MLB players being black is about right.  Notice Gumbel never complains about the large number of black players in the NFL or NBA.  Have you ever heard of Gumbel asking for more white players.  I think not!  He should be fired but won't because Sharpton and Jesse Jackson would cause to much pain for the NBA.  The players are employees and therefore should accept the windfall or quit.  Unless they think they can find another job that pays millions a year, I say shut and sign whatever the owners will give you.  BTW - TAXPAYERS NEED TO STOP PAYING FOR STADIUMS. 

Since: Dec 30, 2006
Posted on: October 19, 2011 4:50 pm

Bryant Gumbel evokes slavery in David Stern rant

You might expect this type of ignorance from an athlete (Adrien Peterson) or music artist (Hank Williams Jr.), but from a respected journalist like Bryant Gumbel? All Gumbel has done is disprove any credibility or legitimacy his name once had, and in the process, proven that he is a reverse racist who has a personal vendetta against the man, the "white" man. Who knows, perhaps reverse racism has finally replaced racism as a bigger epidemic in this country when someone of Gumbel's status says something like this. For the most part white men of high status like David Stern (who is Jewish mind you, a member of a people who have suffered equally in their own right throughout history, and who globally are equally and maybe even more discriminated against in comparison to any other people group), who probably don't have a racist bone in their body are so paranoid and in fear of being falsely labeled as a racist, that playing the "racist" card against them has become a cheap bargaining chip used to push them around. The lockout is a result of greedy rich owners vs. greedy rich players and the only ones who really suffer are the fans. By playing the "race" card Gumbel paints the picture of a majority African-American player base as the poor mistreated victims in the negotiations. His comments compare their labor dispute to the plight of the American slave. Shame on you Bryant Gumbel! Gumbel should take a visit to the National Underground Railroad Museum in Cincinnati and see the TRUE suffering of slavery and the horrors slaves were forced to endure, before he decides to open his mouth again and compare David Stern to a plantation owner. African-American slaves suffered unspeakable violations against their person for their entire lives. I could see how Gumbel could compare their hardships with those poor NBA players who so far are only missing the first two weeks of the season. NOT! Hey Bryant, if you want to give me LeBron James' contract or heck Dirk Nowitzki's contract for that matter, I'll go to work on any plantation for that type of money. What do Michael Vick and Tom Brady, or Darren McFadden and Peyton Hillis, or let's say Steve Nash and Dwayne Wade all have in common? The answer is that they're great world class athletes who all sports fans regardless of race can marvel at and enjoy watching. Yes Bryant, it's true that a majority white audience enjoys watching a league run by a majority of white owners (by the way, do Michael Jordan, Usher, Will Smith, and Jay Z need to sell their shares in their NBA franchises to avoid being African American plantation owners in Bryant Gumbel's opinion?), with players who are mostly African-American. That doesn't make those players like slaves, however, it only means that those players are better (regardless of race) at basketball. A few weeks ago I watched the Australian Rules Football League Final (awesome sport if you haven't checked it out) on ESPN. The majority of the players were white. Are those white players like slaves in the pockets of their Australian team (plantation) owners and league commissioner? In closing I'd like to turn some of Gumbel's comments back at him: "Some will of course cringe at that characterization but Gumbel's disdain for white men with powerful jobs and influence is as palpable and pathetic as his motives are transparent. Yes, the NBA's business model is broken, and yes, the perception that some ignorant narrow minded individuals have in how they view other races is broken as well. But to fix it, maybe Bryant Gumbel should concern himself most with the solution and stop being part of the problem."

Since: Nov 7, 2009
Posted on: October 19, 2011 4:42 pm

Bryant Gumbel evokes slavery in David Stern rant

Recently my wife and I were in Charleston, S.C. where we toured a plantation that had a row of 360-square foot brick houses that each were "home" for multiple families of slaves. Those conditions, without a doubt, were horrendous and inhumane. By comparison, even at the low end of the pay scale, NBA players - black, white, Asian, or whatever - are hardly slaves. They don't have to worry about operational issues, personnel in the arenas, bookkeeping, etc. The owners do have to deal with such matters, and the livelihoods of hundreds of people rest on their shoulders. Maybe the real "slavery" is young African-American men in our cities' ghettos who believe the only ticket out is through basketball or football, rather than getting an education and learning how to develop a sound work ethic. Sadly, only a miniscule percentage of these young men - with much in untapped gifts and abilities to offer society - ever reach "the next level" in sports. So instead of becoming contributing members of society, they have commentators like Bryant Gumbel reinforcing their notions that it's non-African-American society that's keeping them down.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or