LeBron Treated Like 'A Runaway Slave'

By Ta-Nehisi Coates

Jesse Jackson on King James:

"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."

I think Dan Gilbert's letter was way over the top. There are ways to communicate empathy with a hurting fan-base, while still being classy.

That aside, I get sad whenever I see Jesse Jackson say something like this. It's often forgotten that Jesse Jackson made President Barack Obama possible--literally. But it feels like he's resolved to end his career as an independent pundit, and he isn't very good at it.

The statement here is so ridiculous as to elide even analysis--it's just wrong on its face. When I see these sorts of words, I just wonder about his constituency.  I'm sure that there is some portion of black America that believes LeBron was treated like a slave, much as there is some portion of the broader America that believes in UFOs. I think the UFO-believing portion is much larger.

I don't know who Jesse Jackson thinks he's speaking for. I don't know what coalition he represents.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2010/07/lebron-treated-like-a-runaway-slave/59560/