I don’t think I could have put it better than Firewoman, so
I’m not going to try:
The fact that the r-word is even being used is due to the unfortunate
circumstance that Gilbert happens to be white, and James happens to be
black. What if they were both the same race? Would Gilbert have still
written that letter?
You bet he would have because Gilbert’s open letter is not racially
Consider Brett Favre and recent Green Bay Packer history. Lots of
name-calling, jersey-burning and billboard-bashing everywhere because
Favre retired than un-retired a few dozen times, playing for rival teams
in between, and ticking off Packers fans everywhere.
Yet, no one is called a racist in Wisconsin because Favre is white, as
is most of Wisconsin. But is everyone is Wisconsin still mad? You bet
your biscuits they are.
Rev. Jackson’s remarks are particularly off-putting because they imply
that anyone angry about the way James left the team (last minute,
publicly, and without warning) is a racist.
Being a proud member of a racial minority myself (Asian American), that
really peeves me. And it should peeve the many fans in Cleveland which
is a very diverse town. This is the same town which gathered throngs of
people of all colors and creeds to root for the Cavaliers.
Last I checked, that’s not racist either.
Did LeBron have the right to go to Miami and get the hell
out of his hometown? Yes.
Look, I get it. At the age of 25, we all probably wanted to
be out on our own. Hell, most of us probably felt that pull earlier. I went off
to college, but was close to home and really never felt like I left. My first
job landed me several states away and it was that adventure and freedom that
helped thwart the feelings of anxiety and loneliness I had after moving. Sure I
missed things about being in Wisconsin, but it was a hell of a fun ride to be elsewhere,
doing my own thing.
That said, I didn’t torture the shit out of my loved ones by
stretching out the decision or calling them after I’d moved and leaving a “hey,
I’m not going to be back” message on their voicemail.
Being dicked around is not something most people deal well
with. Again, it’s like a Band Aid: Grab the corner, yank hard and get it over
with. We’ll get past the hurt a bit better that way.
There’s a reason torture
is slow and deliberate. It hurts more.
I watched Favre dick with the Packers every year until he
finally pulled the trigger on his first retirement. He later noted he felt
backed into a corner and that he just made the wrong decision. OK, fine, but
how does that justify fucking with the Jets and going to Minnesota? And now? He’s
fucking with Minnesota some more. They just seem to be dealing better with it
because they haven’t had to deal with it for five or six years the way Packer
Was Dan Gilbert over the top? Yes, but dammit, it was
refreshing not to see the bullshit PR “we are disappointed but wish him well”
reaction that would have clearly cast Gilbert as the “better man” role in the
eyes of the approving media. However, it would have shown a falseness about the
man and his feelings. He was pissed. He had every right to be pissed. He said
it. Sure, it made some folks scoff, but he retained the loyalty of his team and
his team’s fans.
Think about this: After his letter, Commissioner David Stern dropped a hammer on Gilbert.He was fined $100K and he had Cavs fans
calling up asking if they could donate money to help him pay the fine. This guy
has more money than 99 percent of the country and the folks in the
depression-belt known as Cleveland were asking to pony up because he had the
balls to say something that most other people wouldn’t.
Has Jesse Jackson got a point about race in this society,
especially as it pertains to sports? Yes and hell yes. If you have any doubt
about that, read Buzz Bissinger’s “Friday Night Lights” and see how the people
talk about Boobie Miles: he’s a hero when he can run and score, but if it
weren’t for that, he’d just be another dumb… well, use your imagination. And
when the kid blew out his knee, that’s exactly what happened. However, that
doesn’t mean every instance of someone being upset about the actions of a
person of color has roots in race.
Had he looked toward a certain tractor-riding,
Wrangler-hawking, flip-flopping hillbilly and the gentle folks who worship the
Frozen Tundra, he could have seen that easily.