Wednesday, November 9th, 2011 at 9:00 am  |  63 responses

David Stern Angered By ‘Plantation’ Comment from Union Lawyer

by Marcel Mutoni @marcel_mutoni

You might recall that NBA commissioner David Stern stayed quiet when the Bryant Gumble race fiasco erupted last month.

He had a vastly different reaction when told of players union lawyer Jeffrey Kessler’s comment about the relationship between players and team owners.

After the union rejected the latest proposal from the League — while agreeing to give up more of their share of the BRI, mind you — Kessler said that owners are treating their players as though they were “plantation owners”, which drew the ire of Stern.

The WaPo reports:

Jeffrey Kessler, a prominent attorney for the players, accused the owners of treating his clients like “plantation workers,” a comment that drew a furious response from Stern. Kessler said the owners’ current offer to give the players half of basketball-related income was not a “fair deal” and that the soft salary cap functioned like a hard cap. “To present that in the context of ‘take it or leave it,’ in our view, that is not good faith,” Kessler, who also represented the NFL players in their labor dispute with the NFL, said in a telephone interview Monday night. “Instead of treating the players like partners, they’re treating them like plantation workers.”

In a phone call Tuesday, Stern blamed Kessler for the stalled talks and said he deserved to be “called to task” for the remark. “Kessler’s agenda is always to inflame and not to make a deal,” Stern said, “even if it means injecting race and thereby insulting his own clients. . . . He has been the single most divisive force in our negotiations and it doesn’t surprise me he would rant and not talk about specifics. Kessler’s conduct is routinely despicable.” The vitriol surely won’t help close the gap. “It certainly is dire,” Stern said about the stalemate.

Well, isn’t that just terrific?

If you can peel yourself away from the inflammatory comments for a moment, it’s important to keep in mind that, though the finish line to this lockout isn’t quite there, both sides have inched ever closer to a deal (thanks to yet another round of financial concessions by the players.)

If cooler heads can prevail (a very big if), this whole nightmare might soon come to an end.

  • Add a Comment
  • Share
  • RSS

Tags: , ,

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Things you should NEVER compare everyday situations to: r@pe, Hitler/Nazi’s, and slavery…when will people learn?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Ok…I’ve tried to post a comment 3 times now…WTF

  • http://offthebackboard.wordpress.com Off The Backboard

    Seriously, enough with all the over the top comments with racial undertones regarding Stern. I know Kessler is just trying to win the PR fight, but again, this is unnecessary. He is working for the owners, and just because you’re losing a negotiation (if you want to call it that) with your employer doesn’t mean its cool to start resorting to petty name calling and school yard tactics to get your point across.


  • AD

    it is what it is ….. HE TOLD THE TRUTH ……. RUTH…… lol

  • http://www.twitter.com/_dfrance dfrance21

    Co-sign Wayno. Making those kind of statements doesn’t bolster your argument, it just trivializes those tragic events.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Stern was on NbaTv earlier with his trademark smirk and laissez-faire air about him.
    He didn’t seem too enamored with David Aldridge’s questions, (DA’s will to live is visibly slipping away before our eyes btw) sidestepped or evaded most of his questions only to yap around with Dennis Scott about some irrelevant feeling.
    Darth Stern at his best.

  • LA Huey

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t plantations persist beyond slavery?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    @ LA Huey – Yes, but what is the first thing that crosses your mind when the term “plantation” is used?

  • dma

    While I agree with you Wayno, the lockout isn’t an everyday situation.

  • LA Huey

    Honestly, I think of Blacks folks being abused and taken advantage of. But I understand that most other people correlate slavery and plantation, not the overseer-worker dynamic of a plantation. So I’ll co-sign your first comment that comparisons to slavery, Nazis, or Hitler are rarely ever productive.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    He never compared NBA players to slaves. Damn…the media and fans just like to look for something that isn’t there just to create controversy and run with it. I have no problem with the comparison.
    Also, it’s the hard-line owners like MJ and PAllen that are stalling the negotiations not some lawyer.

  • Ace

    Why didn’t David Stern go after Bryant Gumble when he made the same comment, could it be because he knows that this guy will back down and apologize for his comments VS Bryant Gumble who will not back down from his comments and even provide evidence for it.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Actually, comparisons to Hitler and the Nazis are VERY valid–we’ve just been indoctrinated to believe Hitler was the worst human being ever. And he might be, but we use Hitler way too often as a shield to defend our own supposed leaders and national “heroes.”
    The extermination and subjugation of indigenous peoples by today’s NATO countries over the last 500 years outdoes even the Nazis, sorry to say.
    And Hitler’s “evil empire” was only doing to the European nations what the European nations had been doing to Africa, Asia, and the Americas (and even to themselves) for hundreds and thousands of years.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic


  • EtheKnickfan

    @DarkSaber whats wrong with David Aldridge? He sick or sumthin? I havent heard anything.


    I just want a deal to get done, so we can stop talking about plantations, Wade painting his toenails, Kim Kardashian dumping that guy who played for the Nyets, etc. etc.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    If DA isn’t sick, he sure as hell looks sickened every time they put a cam in his face to report on the negotiations in NYC. Never the smiling persona, he now looks increasingly dour every time they cut to him to ask for lockout news.
    I find it kinda sad (but his exasperation has some comedic value. Sad but true)

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I agree Dark. DA has looked like the life is slowly creeping out of him since the season ended.

  • bull22

    because BRYANT GUMBLE is no nobody in the nba and no one cares for him on the major networks.. he is just some old disrespectful disgruntled old BUM that goes on useless rants..

  • Yesse

    I think Stern should shut his mouth. I’m sick of seeing his face everywhere that relates to basketball since the lockout began.

  • LA Huey

    Teddy, you’re right. They can be valid. But there are reasons, among the one you pointed out yourself, why those comparisons halt the dialogue.
    And yes, I agree that DA is looking less like Carlton Banks by the day.

  • EJ

    Do people think Hitler was the worst person who ever lived? Nobody seems to remember Stalin and Mao.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Jeffrey Kessler makes Bryant Gumble look like Malcom X.

  • http://djfklsfl.com Jukai

    Er, is Teddy right? He’s going to have to give a good example of how NATO wiped out 20-something million in less than a decade.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Hitler is up there, but are we really debating which genocidal scum bag is worse though? My point is that comparing a relatively trivial situations to a horrific and terrible historical event causes people to lose credibility and causes the conversation to come to a screeching halt. It serves no good purpose in a situation like this one.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    The NBA Lockout, where comparing the worst people in Human History on Slamonline happens……..what about Caligula.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Grand Moff Tarkin nullified an entire PLANET with just an order to a button pusher. That’s gangsta.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    We celebrate a dude who wiped out entire indigenous populations every October.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    How bout the monkey that decided it was cool to have sex with a human, that ish led to aids, which has killed over 35mill people worldwide. That’s one evil a** monkey.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    There are slave masters on our currency.

  • LA Huey

    JTaylor, Dave Chappelle made a “compelling” case that nobody has sex with monkey AND humans. It’s one or the other.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    My comments aren’t showing up…

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I actually read the whole monkey thing was a myth. The disease could have been contracted that way, but more than likely from a hunter who ate monkey meat with the SIV that is identical to HIV in humans. Which is how the cross species infection occured.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    @ Jukai: I’ll get to more in a second, but here’s one of many examples… Straight from The Guardian:
    In his book Late Victorian Holocausts, published in 2001, Mike Davis tells the story of famines that killed between 12 and 29 million Indians. These people were, he demonstrates, murdered by British state policy. When an El Niño drought destituted the farmers of the Deccan plateau in 1876 there was a net surplus of rice and wheat in India. But the viceroy, Lord Lytton, insisted that nothing should prevent its export to England. In 1877 and 1878, at the height of the famine, grain merchants exported a record 6.4m hundredweight of wheat. As the peasants began to starve, officials were ordered “to discourage relief works in every possible way”. The Anti-Charitable Contributions Act of 1877 prohibited “at the pain of imprisonment private relief donations that potentially interfered with the market fixing of grain prices”. The only relief permitted in most districts was hard labour, from which anyone in an advanced state of starvation was turned away. In the labour camps, the workers were given less food than inmates of Buchenwald. In 1877, monthly mortality in the camps equated to an annual death rate of 94%.
    As millions died, the imperial government launched “a militarised campaign to collect the tax arrears accumulated during the drought”. The money, which ruined those who might otherwise have survived the famine, was used by Lytton to fund his war in Afghanistan. Even in places that had produced a crop surplus, the government’s export policies, like Stalin’s in Ukraine, manufactured hunger. In the north-western provinces, Oud and the Punjab, which had brought in record harvests in the preceeding three years, at least 1.25m died.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    This (and WWII) is all before NATO was actually formed–so whenever I refer to “NATO countries,” I really mean the US and Western Europe.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Magatron was pretty evil…just sayin…

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    @ Wayno: Yeah you’re right, I’m just going off on a tangent here. Bear with me, lol.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Evil robots in the Matrix…

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    haha, just playin.

  • Jeremy(Georgia Boy)

    Cosign what JTaylor said about Slave masters on our currency

    also we celebrate Christopher Columbus and he was a evil ass bastard

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    The Brain was the worst (pinky was cool)

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    LA, Word? “I’m hooking up with an orangutan next week”
    nbk, I was joking.

  • Chukaz

    The truth hurts sometimes doesn’t it stern? if the league doesn’t want to be accused of acting like plantation owners maybe they should adjust their behavior accordingly. In the defense of that lawyer, its hard to be angry and politically correct. I bet the only reason he didn’t make a Hitler-like comment is because as a lawyer he’s probably a jew too…

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    lol no no, I meant you were right @ 1:37 pm, Wayno.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Haha my bad JT, a lot of people still think that’s what happened lol

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Same comparison, same argument about what it means, very different reaction from Stern.
    And the lawyer actually was even more circumspect in how he made the comparison.
    But, Wayno is right. Because most people lack the logical ability and historical knowledge base to have discussions about slavery, Hitler or most inflammatory subjects, those references have to be made very carefully in any discussion.

  • http://myspace.com/gametimeweezy Gametimeweezy

    Aww poor Stern… then you and the ‘Owners’ and that damb Adam Silver should stop acting like it!!!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    @ Teddy, yeah I got that, lol

  • http://nbasobrietystrike.blogspot.com/ CoolWhip

    Stern then went on to say “You wanna talk slavery??? Dude, I’m Jewish!”

  • http://nbasobrietystrike.blogspot.com/ CoolWhip

    During labour negotations Stern was quoted as saying “all your BRI are belonged to us” (see site)

  • http://wikipedia.org Eddie1

    Will they finally make a deal today? Only time will tell…time and the illuminati.

  • blakos

    Co-sign Wayno. Hitler was appalling no doubt. But what Many other countries have done is just as bad. USA’s direct action (Iraq/Nato involvement) and indirect/covert operations pincochet, indonesia etc. is terrible. The problem is you dont get prosecuted when you are the winner/dominant power.

  • blakos

    Sorry co-sign Teddy

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Did you just uncosign me blakos??!! If your goal was to break my spirit, you sir have succeeded…

  • blakos

    I agree with what you said too. But i was more enamored with Teddys topic. lolz

  • http://www.forbes.com/sites/prishe/2011/11/09/likely-nba-labor-resolution-will-transfer-250-275-million-from-players-to-owners/2/ Allenp

    click on my name

  • LA Huey

    Allenp, very interesting article. It’s so interesting that the players have effectively been revenue sharing with each other if you consider max salaries and the relatively healthy salaries of NBPA’s middle class. However, the owners could totally solve their problems if they would share more revenue with each other.

  • http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/7207951/ncb-derrick-rose-kyrie-irving-37-other-players-nba-one-year-rule-espn-magazine Allenp

    Well that’s how unions work.
    The owners don’t need a union because they are openly violating anti-trust laws but are protected because they are bargaining with a union.

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    Any news? They passed that 5:00pm deadline already…

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    “The World is my expense
    The cost of my desire
    Jesus blessed me with its future
    And I protect it with fire
    So raise your fists, and march around
    Just don’t take what you need
    I’ll jail and bury those committed
    And smother the rest in greed
    Crawl with me into tomorrow
    Or I’ll drag you to your grave
    I’m deep inside your children
    They’ll betray you in my name”

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    The posting of RATM lyrics are completely redundant I know, but I’m bored

  • Lan

    I like the fact I’m getting interesting lessons on world history over this lockout. So far, the winner gets to write history whichever way he/she wants it.

  • EtheKnickFan

    sheeeeeeeeeeiiiiit Bank of America worse than Hitler.