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: Nov 23, 2006
Posted on: November 9, 2011 11:30 am

Kessler: NBPA treated 'like plantation workers'

Making anywhere for 3-25+ million dollars a year, I wish I was a plantation worker

Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: November 9, 2011 11:13 am

Kessler: NBPA treated 'like plantation workers'

D. Wade lives in a house that makes Monticello look like a Hooverville.  For even implying "slavery," this lawyer should be fired.  I'm a lawyer, and if I made a comment like that in public, I wouldn't be working on that case anymore.          

Since: Aug 18, 2009
Posted on: November 9, 2011 10:31 am

Kessler: NBPA treated 'like plantation workers'

"Nobody knows the trouble I've seen" if the NBA is what working on a plantation is like give me the phone number of the NBA HR office.
Come on man...what are the players holding out for , bankruptcy ? Remember you aren't the only ones that can bounce a ball .
You act like amateurs, we should expand the college calander and pay them to play.
The owners can survive this crap because they are business men and have lots of other financial investments to draw on.
What do you have ? 

Since: Oct 23, 2006
Posted on: November 9, 2011 9:03 am

Kessler: NBPA treated 'like plantation workers'

Kessler needs to qit "shucking and jiving" and get this deal doen.   The previous deal way way out of line, a 50-50 split is more than fair..most owners do not want to go that high.  So the players should grab this deal and run with it.

The NBA should give them 3 days to accept this offer, if they declice cancel the whole season and take their time working a new deal out.

Since: Dec 14, 2010
Posted on: November 9, 2011 12:59 am

Kessler: NBPA treated 'like plantation workers'

You have a NBPA lawyer calling the N.B.A. owners plantation bargainers, meaning owners. How can anyone that has at least a high school education take this man and this union seriously. You have players that make at least 1.0 Million Dollars per year and compare them to the suffering that the slaves went through.

You would have to plain crazy to think, much less say something so incredibly stupid. The slaves had nothing. The N.B.A players have fancy cars, homes, clothes and many other possessions. The slaves worked at least 16 hours per day the players six to eight.
Most people in this country would trade their everyday jobs to get paid what a player makes in one game.

Yet this highly educated, very esteemed lawyer, Mr. Kessler would like all of us too believe that the players are the ones at risk.

News Flash....... Niether the players or the owners are at risk. This is now a game of who can look the dumbest, the players or the owners. Right now the players appear unwise. Next week the owners could look like jack a**es. 

Also for all of the so called, this is about race people. Don't go there!!!!! This is not about race, its about money. It is not a black or white issue, it is a money issue. White owners, African American Players. This 2011 and we are not in the fields in Georgia or Alabama. The players and the owners have been heading down this road for years.

Irresponsible management on the part of the owners. Selfishness on the part of the players. Owners that can not turn a profit because of poor marketing or just plain bad management. Players that will not sign a childs autograph because it does'nt make them a dollar, just idiotic.

Both the owners and the players are infinitely blessed to be where they are. The rest of us would give up a lot to be where you are. You need too remember that. 

O'h, by the way, it looks like games will not start until the new year or llater. Both side will have lost a lot of money. 
Just get back to work, swallow your pride like all of us have to do and maybe all will be forgiven.

P.S.  Mr. Kessler, please insert your butt into your brain, it may do you some good.

Since: Aug 1, 2009
Posted on: November 9, 2011 12:09 am

Kessler: NBPA treated 'like plantation workers'

i agree the money they are paid for what they do is out of hands, i just dont understand how the hell 50% of these guys are broke
when the leave the a professional sport. makes no sense .

Since: Feb 3, 2009
Posted on: November 8, 2011 11:22 pm

Kessler: NBPA treated 'like plantation workers'

I agree 100%! Just like the N.F.L. players these whiners are way overpaid to begin with. If they don't like the N.B.A. treating them "like plantation workers" (what a joke) then perhaps they can go pick cotton instead and see what it's really like to live in the real world!

Since: Oct 4, 2010
Posted on: November 8, 2011 11:21 pm

Kessler: NBPA treated 'like plantation workers'

Did you ever pay for or watch an NBA game in the past?

Since: Oct 4, 2010
Posted on: November 8, 2011 11:20 pm

Kessler: NBPA treated 'like plantation workers'

Kessler does seem to be fairly devisive. Really can't stand it when the race card is played. Not all NBA players are BLACK for one thing...I mean how does this make Dirk feel? Doesn't he count? As far as I've read, there were never any Germans working on plantations..anywhere...

Since: Oct 19, 2011
Posted on: November 8, 2011 10:12 pm

Kessler: NBPA treated 'like plantation workers'

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