Posted on: December 9, 2011 1:44 am
Edited on: December 9, 2011 2:19 am
Posted by Ben Golliver.
NBA commissioner David Stern made the controversial decision on Thursday to step in and veto a trade that would have sent New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers. The outrage over Stern's alleged over-reaching was fast and furious online, and not just among media and fans.
Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger took to Twitter to express his mildly profane and brutally honest thoughts.
"Due to the sabotaging of the LA/NO trade by David Stern," Granger wrote, "and following in the foosteps of my athlete brethern (sic) Metta World Peace and Chad Ochocinco, I'm changing my last name to 'Stern's Bi#&h', effective immediately."
Here's the visual proof. Pretty classic. Especially cool if you happen to be an acorn or squirrel enthusiast.
Granger later clarified that he was "obviously kidding."
As both the NBA's Board of Governors and the National Basketball Players Association ratified the league's new collective bargaining agreement on Thursday, Granger's straight talk might have opened him up to a possible fine.
Tension regarding Stern's treatment of players was a hot topic during the lockout. Television commentator Bryant Gumbel criticized Stern for carrying himself like a "modern plantation overseer" and NBPA attorney Jeffrey Kessler said that Stern treated the players "like plantation workers."
Posted on: November 8, 2011 8:59 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 1:25 am
Posted by Ben Golliver.
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.
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."
Posted on: November 8, 2011 2:51 pm
Posted by Royce Young
I would think that when David Stern heard that Bryant Gumbel called him a "plantation overseer" that he wasn't thrilled about it. Just a hunch.
But when it happened, that was when Stern would out with the flu and so Adam Silver was forced to be the one to respond to it. Silver simply called it "outrageous." We never really heard from Stern on it.
Stern was on ESPN Radio New York Tuesday doing another Lockout Media Tour and the question was asked to him what he thought of Gumbel's comments. And Stern basically let it roll right off his back.
“On Bryant Gumbel I think that’s just an occupational hazard. If you’re the head of the league you take what everyone dishes out. With respect to the players, what I tell them is I have been working for 27 years and this partnership that we have had and will have after this ends will continue to, you know continue to grow the game globally, we will continue to have a huge digitally footprint, we will continue to make them stars of international magnitude but I understand when passion is running high and the well has been poisoned by people telling them the owners are lying to them, the owners are greedy, the owners are arrogant and none of that is true by the way."Occupational hazard." What a way of putting it. And he's right. When you're the man at the front of it all, you take the brunt of everything. The criticism, the praise, the downright mean comments -- it's all coming at you. And Stern's always been great at handling it.
Gumbel came with strong words. He wanted to make a splash. He wanted to catch attention. Stern could've called him out on it, but instead, he lets it roll off with a simple description of it just being part of the job.
Posted on: October 25, 2011 1:21 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2011 1:28 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
They might stare each other down across the negotiating table, but National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter has NBA commissioner David Stern's back when it comes to allegations of racism.
Last week, Emmy-winning commentator Bryant Gumbel referred to Stern as a "modern plantation overseer" and evoked slavery in describing the ongoing NBA lockout in a nationally-televised editorial.
Hunter came to the defense of commissioner Stern on Monday in a podcast interview with ESPN.com.
"David is a hard-charger," Hunter said. "David pretty much treats everyone the same. Obviously when you've got the set up that you have, a league that is predominantly black and a group of white owners, it may take on a different color or appearance, but I don't think David is racist at all."
Hunter joined other prominent voices in the NBA community who have stood up for Stern. NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver recently called Gumbel's editorial "outrageous" while television commentator Charles Barkley said the remarks were "stupid."
He also expressed surprise that Gumbel's commentary received so much attention. "I didn't think it was going to get any traction," Hunter said. "It was Bryant Gumbel's opinion."
The Rev. Jesse Jackson said that Gumbel's "exposed a subtext of tension" and that he "pulled the cover off a very sensitive issue." Hunter, though, made an effort to distance himself from that opinion, stating that Gumbel's accusations didn't advance the discussion.
"It's not healthy," Hunter said. "It's not healthy. It's just the nature of life in America, that's all. People make those assumptions every day. The difference is that we are on Front Street because we're very visible with professional sports, etc. People will make comments and render opinions that move their own agendas."
Asked if he considered Stern a friend, Hunter responded: "We don't socialize. We have a professional relationship, a respectful relationship. I like David. I don't dislike him as a person... The irony is, let me let you in on a secret: David and I are fraternity brothers. I was at Syracuse, he was at Rutgers but we were both members of Sammy -- Sigma Alpha Mu."
Posted on: October 22, 2011 6:33 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
There is no better indication that a situation has reached a crisis than when reporters start phoning the Reverend Jesse Jackson.
Love him or hate him, Jackson has a firmly established reputation as a go-to voice when it comes to natural disasters, police brutality and, now, the NBA lockout.
The Washington Post contacted Jackson to get his response to what has been arguably the ugliest week the league has seen in years. NBA commissioner David Stern was called a "modern plantation overseer" by Emmy-winning television commentator Bryant Gumbel and the league's labor negotiations broke down on Thursday amidst direct, nationally circulated charges of lying and greed by the players against the owners.
Jackson's stance was clear: the league is reaching a point of no return and that Gumbel and Stern needed to mend their fences.
“I hope it doesn’t degenerate into names and language that’s hard to take back once it’s started,” Jackson said from his Chicago office late Thursday afternoon. “If it goes down this road, that could amount to irreparable damage. If it goes away from labor negotiations, things could become irretrievable.”With the federal mediation process failing so spectacularly, it's unclear who will emerge to effect what will need to be a Great Compromise between the owners and players. Putting the acrimony from last week into the rearview will not be an easy process, and it will become even more difficult if and when Stern needs to announce further cancellations of regular season games, something that could come at any time.
The hits to the players' pocketbooks, in the form of lost game checks, are coming right around the corner. Nobody likes to have money taken out of his pocket. How will the players as a whole react? And, then, how will that reaction evolve if the owners continue to refuse to bend in the negotiations?
It's quite possible that Jackson is correct in stating that the negativity is just beginning and major damage could be dealt over the next few weeks and months.
Posted on: October 20, 2011 1:49 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 2:16 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
With his boss under attack and sidelined due to illness, the NBA's No. 2 man decided to punch back.
On Tuesday night, television commentator Bryant Gumbel aimed an editorial at NBA commissioner David Stern and his handling of the league's ongoing labor impasse, evoking words associated with slavery, on HBO's Real Sports. Gumbel's statement included calling Stern as a "modern plantation overseer" and made reference to him treating NBA players as "boys" and "hired hands." Gumbel and a vast majority of NBA players are African-American. Stern is not.
On Thursday morning, NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver provided the league's first public response to Gumbel's commentary.
"I can't speak for David," Silver said. "And only a personal comment: I thought it was outrageous."
Silver made that brief statement following the NBA's Board of Governors meeting on Thursday morning. Stern was originally scheduled to speak but was sidelined due to the flu.
The New York Post reported that Stern declined comment on Gumbel's statement on Wednesday and noted that Stern has served as an NAACP board member.
The USA Today reported that television commentator and Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley didn't think much of Gumbel's remarks.
"I thought they were stupid," Barkley said. "Disrespectful to black people who went through slavery. When (you're talking about) guys who make $5 million a year."
Here's video of Silver's comment on Bryant Gumbel's editorial against David Stern.
Posted on: October 19, 2011 2:16 am
Edited on: October 19, 2011 12:56 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
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, SportsBusinessNews.com 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, NewsBusters.org 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