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Gumbel Plays Race Card: Calls NBA Commish a “Plantation Overseer”

In a televised editorial on the NBA’s ongoing contract deadlock and player lockout, HBO sports commentator Bryant Gumbel compared NBA Commissioner David Stern to a “plantation overseer.”

Neilson Barnard, Getty Images

People all over the country were shocked when sports TV interviewer and commentator Bryant Gumbel compared the NBA Commissioner to an old south slave master.

Gumbel ended Tuesday’s edition of HBO’s “Real Sports” by blaming Stern for the lockout that’s threatening the entire NBA season.  He said Stern’s “disdain for the players” is “pathetic.”

Gumbel said Stern “has always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer treating NBA men as if they were his boys … he’s the one keeping the hired hands in their place.”

Gumbel has never been shy about injecting race into sports commentaries. 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.

via Bryant Gumbel Calls NBA Commish “Plantation Overseer” | NBC New York.

If you’re not exactly sure what a “plantation overseer” is, or was, it was a task-master whose job was to keep old south plantation slaves working hard and do whatever was necessary to get crops planted and harvested on schedule.

The most infamous “overseer” of all was the fictitious and vicious brute Simon Legree, in the pre-civil war novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  Legree gave overseers everywhere a bad name.

David Stern has every right to feel insulted.

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