Legendary Sportscaster Bryant Gumbel turned heads Tuesday night during a televised editorial regarding the NBA's labor union stalemate. Speaking on HBO's "Real Talk," he called NBA Commisioner David Stern a "plantation overseer."
Gumbel said the "egocentric" commissioner is focused on "demeaning the players" rather than solving the NBA lockout:
"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."
Here's the full rant:
Those are stern words (pun slightly intended). But according to NBC, it's not the firs time Gumbel has invoked race while making an argument:
Gumbel has often played the race card when talking sports. In 2006, when then-NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue was leaving office, he said Tagliabue kept Players Union boss Gene Upshaw on a "leash" as his "personal pet." The comment was widely viewed as having a racial overtone.
Later that year, Gumbel explained why he doesn't like the Winter Olympics.
"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," Gumbel said.
Despite the comments and despite his past, Gumbel wasn't backing down.
"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," he said.