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Reader Response

In reading your recent article, “Who’s To Blame For The NBA Lockout,” I was struck by the tone the author chose to take. It seemed unnecessarily dismissive of the rather serious issue of racial discontent within the player’s union that is threatening to derail the NBA Labor negotiations. I understand, and for the most part concur, with the assessment that the comment made by Bryant Gumbel on HBO’s “Real Sports” (The assertion that NBA Commissioner David Stern is a ‘Plantation Overseer’) was over-the-top and unfair to Mr. Stern, who is widely hailed as a progressive on racial issues, and who once served on the Board of Trustees of N.A.A.C.P. What was lost in the knee-jerk reaction to Mr. Gumbel’s accusation is the stark reality of the situation. The article points out that the majority of polling information done about the NBA Lockout demonstrates that there is anywhere from 3 to 5 times more support for the players in the Black community than there is among White fans. Somehow, we are expected to be surprised when all but one of the owners of NBA teams are white (Michael Jordan of the Charlotte Bobcats being the sole exception) and 86 % of the players in the National Basketball Association today are African-American. The fact that the Black community sides, in much greater numbers, with the players is not overly noteworthy. That is to be expected. Whatever these hastily thrown together polling numbers show, in no way should they mitigate the serious questions at the heart of this issue. Until there is a more representative sampling of minority owners in the NBA, these undercurrents of racial disharmony will always persist. The fact that Mr. Gumbel made a controversial comment that some might perceive as outlandish, should not draw attention away from the real issue: the glaring disparity between the skin color of the athletes on the court and the skin color of those in the ownership suites.

Matthew Anderson
Woodstock, GA

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