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Jesse Jackson slams Dan Gilbert, accuses him of making racial remarks about LeBron

The Rev. Jesse Jackson has fired off a press release denouncing Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert for his remarks immediately following LeBron James' announcement that he would sign with the Miami Heat... (On a side note concerning recent comments on this blog. Let's please keep it civil while making your opinions heard but please remember that this is ultimately just a sport that's meant to entertain people.) "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 illicit. 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 forcefully." The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity. The organization is headquartered at 930 E. 50th St. in Chicago. For more information about the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, please visit or call (773) 373-3366.