Bryant Gumbel commits a Flagrant 2 foul… : ThyBlackMan

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Bryant Gumbel commits a Flagrant 2 foul…

October 29, 2011 by  
Filed under Misc., News, Opinion, Sports, Weekly Columns

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( Decorated journalist Bryant Gumbel offered a scathing and controversial commentary on David Stern’s handling of the National Basketball Association’s lockout negotiations.

Last week on HBO’s “Real Sports,” Bryant Gumbel said Stern; the commissioner of the NBA is an, “ego-centric commissioner [who] always seems eager to be viewed as a modern plantation overseer – treating NBA men as if they were his boys.” He added, “Its part of Stern’s M.O., like his past self-serving edicts on dress codes or the questioning of officials.”

Wake up Gumbel! Or I guess you much rather the commissioner be derelict in his duties because the League is comprises primarily of men of color.

Let’s play the make believe game. We’re going to pretend that I – a black man – serve as the NBA’s commissioner. Under my leadership, direction, management, supervision, control or whatever adjective you believe to be appropriate, I have 30 franchises (owners and coaches), 450 players, approximately 70 referees and other leagues to include the Developmental,  WNBA and Euro leagues. Isn’t it my responsibilities to make prudent decisions that will best serve the NBA’s brand?

Now for a brief moment I’m going to return to reality. 

As an entrepreneur “being about my business” is an absolute must. I enter each negotiating session with a clear picture of my worth complemented by what I will accept and what I choose to sacrifice. I understand that in those negotiations potential clients are attempting to secure the best deal for their companies and I trust that they understand that I too seek what’s best for me – this is business. One of my current clients refers to me as “The Mercenary” because my disposition boldly states that I’m about my business and my money.” While my negotiations are stern (pun intended) I’m never haughty or insolent as has been suggested of Stern.

Allow me one addition moment for a brief self exposé.  

As the principle person responsible for a growing enterprise, I provide and expect volunteers, employees, contractors and even my wife (my partner in business) to clearly understand what is expected of them: my brand is on the line. My failure to provide – with clarity – what is expected puts my company in harm’s way. If I were the NBA’s commissioner it would be my purpose, my charge, to arrive at the table prepared to achieve that which is best for that which I represent. Does this cause me to be a modern plantation overseer? Will every decision rendered by Stern be viewed as racist – viewed as if his sole purpose is simply to “keep the hired hands in place?”

Bryant Gumbel’s contentions about Stern are more hyperbole and off colored than authentic. Isn’t insuring that referees aren’t gambling on games under Stern’s purview; that’s protecting the game’s integrity! And why shouldn’t Stern set the tone for how players represent the League through their actions and their dress; that’s sheltering the league’s image. I love wearing my Yankee fitted cap cocked slightly to the left and my Air Force 1 or old school Jordans. As often as I can I will rock a smooth sweat suit or a pair of jeans. However when it’s about business, I’m donning a fly suit atop a French cuffed shirt decorated with my initials on the left cuff. My ensemble is complete with my colorful tie tied with a Windsor knot. I don’t wear a suit to bed or pajamas to church and I’ve yet to see Mr. Bryant Gumbel on any studio set decked out in a doo-rag blinging a diamond encrusted necklace. Why shouldn’t million dollar businessmen come to work dressed as such – or maybe they are nothing more than just athletes?

These dudes ain’t field slaves under the whip of oppression, and folks need to cease with this simile. If the Kobe Bryant and DeWyane Wade’s of the NBA are slaves earning millions then pray God for the everyday black man who earns – if lucky – $50,000. The players that Bryant Gumbel and others are attempting to protect with the power of their pens [Dr. Boyce Watkins, a brilliant writer and professor writes: “Bryant Gumbel has done a wonderful thing for the players by acknowledging the racial writing on the wall of the NBA lockout.”] are multi-million dollar athletes. They are more than ballers; they are businessmen with immediate and extraordinary branding value.  Do they possess the wealth of their NBA owners – “no?” But even a paltry salary of $2 million per year these young black men possess the extraordinary ability to leave an inheritance for their children’s children.

I neither serve as an advocate for Stern nor a distracter of Bryant Gumbel, but hell I just don’t get it. These players, at any level, will secure a hefty percentage of the $2.1 billion revenue stream. If folks like Bryant Gumbel continue to be tied to this ante bellum south analogy then it is fair – in the spirit of Nat Turner or Denmark Vesey – that they also call out some of these rich, power black men who will return, in the off-seasons, to the affluent neighborhoods that border the communities that they are descendents of (Georgetown oppose to Southeast D.C.; Beverly Hills oppose to Inglewood or Buckhead oppose to Southwest Atlanta), to throw lavish parties in clubs owned by rich white men, while choosing against rendering any real investment in the communities of their youth.

I am exceedingly exhausted by this woe-is-me disposition so many folks too frequently espouse. Screening these negotiations solely as old, rich and powerful white men versus young, brass black men is far too narrow a lens to view this billion dollar deal through. In addition, this perilous way of comparing these athletes to slaves or Stern to an overseer belittles the history of our ancestors shackled by chattel slavery or bonded by the invisible glue of servitude slavery. Bryant Gumbel’s consignation also makes light of the 21st century black man  who can’t afford to resign from a ‘Just Over Broke’ job that fails to pay enough to adequately provide for his family.

Modern plantation overseer; C’mon man – “you’re better than [this],” or are you?

Staff Writer; Reginald Williams

For more articles on Relationships visit Rule Your Wife and for Marriage Counseling; Marriage Nectar.



9 Responses to “Bryant Gumbel commits a Flagrant 2 foul…”
  1. sankofa says:

    Thank you for the clarification and glad to see the book is being read despite the notion that if we hide truth in a book, African people won’t read it.

    So I guess “ALL” black folks still on somebody’s plantation based on your premise. C’mon Man.

    True power is about controlling your resources. Political, personal, economical, spiritual and physical. in this capitalistic society, more than any other YES! You are a slave!.

    “Do you think HBO is going to deal with Gumbel differently then Stern is dealing with the players? Or will your employer deal with you differently.”

    Please stay on point. This is not about how they would treat Gumbel, but what Gumbel says about Stern and how he, the fans and the owners see the athletic entertainers. When people chastise the players more than the owners, when people tell them to shut up and play, when owners act like players are not unionized employees but indentured servants…that is what acting like a slave master is all about.

    Again if you are not self employed, then you work for someone. Most corporate entities treat their employees as disposable commodities. As a journalist you have seen that ( I don’t have to ask). Knee-grows like to get offended when they analogy of slavery and modern employment as drawn, but miss the forest for the trees.

    Again, no body is equating the actual enslavement of our ancestors, who were prisoners of Imperialist and colonial invasions. But they same mentalities that today still believe (not give lip service) believe that Africans are inferior, permeates the nine area of people activity: Politics, Religion, War, Entertainment, Economics, Sex, law, Labour and EDUCATION.

    May I suggest two more for your reading pleasure? The miseducation of the Negro and The United Independent Compensatory Code/System (the code)


  2. Reginald says:


    Reginald is the writer. Reginald did read $40 Million slave. Reginald and William (the writer for $40 Million Slave) received our journalist prowness from the same legendary writers, and if your premise is what you say it is then we are all slaves. Those athletes are million dollar slaves and we are thousand dollar slaves. Do you think HBO is going to deal with Gumbel differently then Stern is dealing with the players. Or will your employer deal with you differently.

    So I guess “ALL” black folks still on somebody’s plantation based on your premise. C’mon Man.

  3. sankofa says:

    To Reginald and the writer, read 40 million dollar slave (as a starter) where an articulated breakdown of sports and the treatment of African men are put into perspective. Reginald, your cooperate experience is your corporate experience, it is not the same as what many athletes experience, despite the fact they make millions putting their health on the lines for Billionaires, ungrateful and ignorant fans. This society places too much emphasis on money over health and value. This why during a recession/depression or whatever the current spin doctor calls it, crime goes up, assaults go up, property damage go up and thefts go up.

    All Gumble is saying is that the same mentality that drove salve owners are present in many of team owners and even your corporate bosses. For both the writer and Reginald to imply that Makingsense, ex-baller Larry Johnson, Adrian Petersen or others are equating the enslavement of African to athletic contract is asinine and disingenuous and a deliberate attempt to either show your disdain for people who think independently or show your comprehension.

  4. Reginald says:

    To Ed and MakingSense,

    I have no problem with either of you disagreeing with my position. But again, we are talking about a overseer/plantation concept while both of you are questioning is I have the right to questiong them (how antiquated is that thought process).

    However can you give us something beyond Stern pointing his finger in Wade’s face. Albeit disrespectful, and I wouldn’t tolerate it, I have been in a number of business meetings and seen white men do it to other white men, and I’ve seen brothers do it to brothers. Do we characterize those acts as racist as well? C’mon man.

    If Stern’s system is antiquated, I’m sure the publisher of this site would be estatic with you penning a piece to educate us on the way this business model should look.

  5. Scotty says:

    “Is this guy even qualified to question Dr. Boyce Watkins or Bryant Gumbel?” IMO, no one is above being questioned. The dispute is more about the division of profits and organized labor, not about slavery. Stop diminishing the suffering of the enslaved Africans by comparing them to million dollar athletes.

  6. Ed says:

    I agree with MakingSense to a certain extent. I do believe the Stern’s approach to the league is antiquated. I saw the Real Sports commentary by Gumbel. I agreed with what he said, but not how he said it.

    We cannot say with a certainty what Gumbel’s motive was; however, the comments opened a dialogue about Stern that is long overdue. Did anyone read about his attack on Dwayne Wade at one of the meetings? It was reminiscent of “Massa’ putting his boys in their place.”

  7. terry hadley says:

    Stern is abusing black boys by trying them make play a game for only $20 million a year!! Shame on him!!!! He is racist!!!

  8. Reginald says:


    Talking about a modern plantation overseer mentality – keeping the negro in his place. According to MakingSense I must be qualified to render my position. But so that you know, more than qualified.

  9. MakingSense says:

    Is this guy even qualified to question Dr. Boyce Watkins or Bryant Gumbel?

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