Blog Entry

Kessler: NBPA treated 'like plantation workers'

Posted on: November 8, 2011 8:59 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 1:25 am
Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

Here we go again.

Months after television commentator Bryant Gumbel sparked a national controversy by referring to NBA commissioner David Stern as a "modern plantation overseer" -- a comment that NBPA executive director Billy Hunter distanced himself from -- union lawyer Jeffrey Kessler has taken to invoking slavery during the most critical stage of the league's ongoing labor negotiations.

The Washington Post reports that Kessler, like Gumbel before him, made referenece to a "plantation" in a criticism of the NBA's bargaining strategy.

“To present that in the context of ‘take it or leave it,’ in our view, that is not good faith,” Kessler, who also represented the NFL players in their labor dispute with the NFL, said in a telephone interview Monday night. “Instead of treating the players like partners, they’re treating them like plantation workers.”

Kessler's comments, the paper reports, led Stern to call him the "single most divisive force in our negotiations." They are, by far, the harshest criticism levied at Stern by someone affiliated with the NBPA during these ongoing labor negotiations and they represent a stark contrast to Hunter's more subdued response to Gumbel's similar attack on Stern. 

Back in October, Gumbel said that Stern "has always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer, treating NBA men as if they were his boys." He also referred to Stern's opinion of the players as "hired hands."

Gumbel's controversial comments sparked a round of responses almost immediately given that a vast majority of NBA owners are caucasian while a vast majority of NBA players are African-Americans. Shortly after Gumbel's comments were made, NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said that they were "outrageous." Hunter said that, while Stern is a "hard-charger" in negotiations, he is not racist "at all." Basketball Hall of Famer and TNT commentator Charles Barkley simply called Gumbel's comments "stupid." The Reverend Jesse Jackson warned such talk could make these negotiations take an ugly turn.

Coincidentally on Tuesday, Stern was asked in an interview for his thoughts on Gumbel's comments. "I think that’s just an occupational hazard," Stern said. "If you're the head of the league you take what everyone dishes out."

The Sporting News notes this is not his first explosion. He has recently accused Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen of "hijacking" negotiations and he recently called the NBA's offer to players a "fraud."

Since: Sep 7, 2010
Posted on: November 9, 2011 5:52 pm

Kessler: NBPA treated 'like plantation workers'

I have one last comment.  If this is indeed a plantation, and the NBPA feels this way as a whole... I would be glad to work hard on that plantation for a couple hundred grand per game.

Since: Sep 7, 2010
Posted on: November 9, 2011 5:42 pm

Kessler: NBPA treated 'like plantation workers'

Well said my friend.  Well said.  I am an educated white man who thinks NBA players, regardless of race,  are treated like kings... not plantation workers ( is that the new politically correct term?).  Black or white, the problem is greed.  Do the owners deserve more than 50%? Maybe... Do the players?  Perhaps...  The NBA has no idea what kind of long term problem they are causing.  Gonna be on life support after this is over... I will not feel sory for one of them.

Since: Oct 13, 2007
Posted on: November 9, 2011 5:03 pm

Kessler: NBPA treated 'like plantation workers'

Define...Miss? As in do I miss seeing a bunch of overpaid Primadonas playing a game that almost anyone with a degree of Geometry and physcis could play? No...

Since: Oct 13, 2007
Posted on: November 9, 2011 5:00 pm

Kessler: NBPA treated 'like plantation workers'

Just when I thought it was safe to be an African American who made something of himself...Graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a Ph.D in Psychology...A good job working for the Govt...Now this is played again...........

PASS THE KFC AND WELCHES GRAPE SODA!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am going back out to the plantation.


Rant over...Back to being the well educated person for whom I am.

Since: Feb 25, 2008
Posted on: November 9, 2011 4:07 pm

Kessler: NBPA treated 'like plantation workers'

I would like to see the owners and players come to agreement, but the catch would be to void alll contracts and start from scratch, give the players a 50/50 split or eventhe 51/49 in there favor. but then i wish the owners would all come together and refuse to give any player in the league a giant 20 mill $$ contract. Even though that wouldnt happen and sounds stupid, but then again so is this whole damn issue with the NBA..

Since: Oct 10, 2006
Posted on: November 9, 2011 2:44 pm

Kessler: NBPA treated 'like plantation workers'

Kessler failed miserably as attorney. He created a public relations disaster by resorting to a personal attack. No firm is going trust him speaking to public.

Since: Nov 9, 2011
Posted on: November 9, 2011 2:21 pm

Kessler: NBPA treated 'like plantation workers'

you are a very bitter person.

sorry your life sucks

Since: Nov 9, 2011
Posted on: November 9, 2011 2:19 pm

Kessler: NBPA treated 'like plantation workers'

The players are not playing this well. BUT they are getting totally screwed.

Both sides will lose more by missing an entire season then if they just settled on a 51-49 split.
The entire season, will cost over $2bb  in salaries and 4bb in revenues.

The ones who this sucks for are the business owners and employees who count on the games to earn a living

Since: Apr 14, 2011
Posted on: November 9, 2011 1:51 pm

Kessler: NBPA treated 'like plantation workers'

Let the NBPA continue playing their over the top plantation cards.  All of their boneheaded actions can only galvanize the growing disdain with the players in this negotiation.  The owners have played their hands wisely by sticking to the issues and not getting into the mud.  The players on the other hand have been slinging insults, name calling and resorting to personal attacks.  I have learned that adversity reveals character and judging how the two sides are handling this, the players are appearing to be a bunch of disorganized spoiled brats.  I never thought I could pick a side in this millionaires v billionaires, but the owners are looking like John Wayne and the players are cowards.
As for Kessler, not only should he step down, but he should be required to take classes in race discrimination and take cases regarding discrimination pro bono so he can learn how inflammatory race remarks.  Kessler should offer to have his mouth sewn shut.

Since: Sep 13, 2007
Posted on: November 9, 2011 1:48 pm

Kessler: NBPA treated 'like plantation workers'

Funnily enough I've worked on a plantation. In Virginia. It was awesome and the owner was one of the best bosses I've ever had. Maybe that's what this lawyer was reffering to?

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