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Jesse Jackson Says LeBron Treated Like A 'Runaway Slave'

By Prescott Carlson in News on Jul 12, 2010 7:30PM

While many Cleveland Cavaliers fans expressed their displeasure with NBA star LeBron James' departure for the warmer climate of Miami by burning James' merchandise in the streets, the team's majority owner Dan Gilbert instead took to the Cavs' website, where he hammered out a Comic Sans screed about how Cleveland was "cowardly betrayed" by James, and he guaranteed "that the Cleveland Cavaliers would win an NBA championship before the self-titled former 'King' wins one."

While the tone of Gilbert's rather silly letter gave the image of him wiping away tears and drinking red wine while angrily pecking away at his keyboard, Chicago's own Rev. Jesse Jackson saw something more sinister behind it, making Quicken Loans Arena sound like a plantation. In a statement released by Jackson on Sunday through his organization Rainbow PUSH, he said:

"[Gilbert] 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."

Albeit a "slave" that was made a $120 million offer. Jackson's not the only one making the slavery comparison -- in a speech last week Louis Farrakhan called the NBA a "big plantation" and said that LeBron is a "sharecropper," and the likening of professional sports to slavery is not a new concept.

Fox Sports' Jason Whitlock responded to Jackson's statement, calling it "crap" that needs to be addressed because "Jesse has a constituency, a passionate group of idiots who believe the best way to combat white-wing political bigots such as Limbaugh and Hannity is with black-wing political bigotry."