Jesse Jackson’s response to Dan Gilbert’s comments

Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. Reacts to Dan Gilbert’s

Open Letter

CHICAGO (July 11, 2010)—“Mr. Dan Gilbert’s

accusations, expressed in an open letter to LeBron James after his

announcement that he will play next year’s NBA season for the

Miami Heat, have legal and social implications for the league, its

union and the character of LeBron James. By saying that he has

gotten a free pass and that people have covered for him way too

long, Gilbert suggests that LeBron has done something illegal or


He speaks as an owner of LeBron and not the owner of the

Cleveland Cavaliers. 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.

He must know the Curt Flood suit, which changed plantation rules

and created free agency; and the Spencer Haywood suit that changed

eligibility rules.

If he believes that LeBron quit in games 2, 4, 5 and 6 of the

2010 Eastern Conference semifinals, then, why did he fire the

coach? If he believes that LeBron intentionally quit, determining

the outcome of those games, why did he pursue him and offer him and

additional $120 million to stay in Cleveland?

These accusations endanger LeBron. His jersey is being burned in

effigy, and he is being projected as a betrayer by the owner.

When players or coaches speak disrespectfully to or about

referees, they are fined. If Mr. Gilbert cannot prove that LeBron

changed games by quitting, he defames his character. He should have

to face a challenge by the NBA and the players association. LeBron

has every right to an apology.

Other players cannot just watch this as if it is LeBron’s

personal problem. This is an attack upon players in general.

LeBron is not a child, nor is he bound to play on

Gilbert’s plantation and be demeaned. He has been a model

citizen and has inspired the children of Akron, Cleveland, the

State of Ohio and the United States.

He has conducted camps for children, helped to win a gold medal

for our nation and his public deportment has been excellent.

Mr. Gilbert’s statement is mean, arrogant and presumptuous.

I hope that LeBron will speak up and speak out clearly and