Oh, Jesse. July 12, 2010Posted by Skippy in Black folks, Observations, Popular Culture, Racism.
Y’know, there’s something sad about watching a person who was once in his or her prime try to maintain relevance in a world that has moved on. They flail about, trying to recapture past glories, all the while tarnishing those past glories with present foolishness.
A person like that will usually latch onto a “hot” trend and try to insert him or herself…usually to tragic or hilarious results. Well, children, while you may think that this is about the above pictured Whitney Houston, it’s not. I’m not talking about Miss Houston…I’m talking about Jesse Jackson. In the wake of the “destruction” left by LeBron “Put A Ring On It!!” James’s departure from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert wrote a very bitter little missive in which he accused James of narcissism and “cowardly betrayal.” Apparently, no one in Cleveland or at Nike fed into a culture of narcissism which Gilbert ascribes to James.
Fig. 1: Can’t you just SMELL the humility?
Anyway, Jesse Jackson decided that THIS was an affront which needed an immediate response. According to the Associated Press,
Jesse Jackson criticized Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert on Sunday, saying Gilbert sees LeBron James as a “runaway slave” and that the owner’s comments after the free-agent forward decided to join the Miami Heat put the player in danger…”He speaks as an owner of LeBron and not the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers,” the reverend said in a release from his Chicago-based civil rights group, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. “His feelings of betrayal personify a slave master mentality. He sees LeBron as a runaway slave. This is an owner employee relationship — between business partners — and LeBron honored his contract.”
Messages were left Sunday night seeking comment from Gilbert, the Cavaliers and James.
Jackson also called Gilbert’s comments an attack on all NBA players and said the owner should face a “challenge” from the league and the players’ association.
You have got to be kidding me. Of all the things in this society that are of great import to African Americans, I don’t think LeBron James and when and how he left the Cavs and some petulant, whiny owner who’s just trying to score points with Cavaliers season ticket holders rates. Did Jesse know that one of the police officers involved in the Sean Bell shooting is suing Bell’s estate? Did Jesse know that Johannes Mehserle, the Oakland cop who shot an unarmed black man in the back, was convicted of only involuntary manslaughter–by an all white jury?? Hell, did Jesse know that idiotard Chris Brown is still drawing breath and making an ass out of his fool self?
As a mentor of mine once told me, “You have to choose your battles.” You have to choose the battles which are larger and more important. Somehow, I don’t think whining about what some whiny basketball team owner whines about a player constitutes something important—especially when everybody and their blind grandmother knew that James would ditch the Cavs the nanosecond free agency hit. I don’t think MLK and Malcolm X and Fannie Lou Hamer and Ella Baker and every nameless black man and woman who suffered and protested and risked their very lives did so so some washed up, over and out civil rights “leader” could go chasing after utterly unimportant nonsense.
If Jesse wants to go after the NBA, then go after how both the NBA and NFL infantilize their players. Go after them for creating and fostering a culture of narcissism coupled with a culture of infantilization in which allegedly grown-ass men get paid millions but don’t get any kind of real help when in college with career decisions and advice on managing money. Go after college sports for creating and nurturing a slave mentality among players–many of whom come from impoverished backgrounds and don’t have the wherewithal to cope with the kinds of demands placed on them by the sports-entertainment complex and their “friends,” hangers-on and family who will expect a ride on a gravy train.
Choose your battles, Jesse. This ain’t one of ’em.