Standing on Curt Flood’s Shoulders

In Uncategorized on July 14, 2010 at 9:22 am

Whewww! Now that “The Decision” has been made, and we all have served as “witnesses” to the fall of a King in one city and the grand welcoming of him in another, let’s get back to other news. What a week: one of my favorite gospel singers, Walter Hawkins (Oh Happy Day fame) passed away, losing a battle to pancreatic cancer; the legendary announcer for the New York Yankees Bob Sheppard passed away; and “The Boss” George Steinbrenner, controversial New York Yankee owner, passed away just yesterday. And thinking about “The Decision” seems a little trivial just now. But wait…

We return to the aftermath of “The Decision,” the Rev. Jesse Jackson likened jilted Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert’s comments about LeBron James to that of a slave master mentality”. And Jackson continues, “He sees LeBron as a runaway slave. This is an owner employee relationship — between business partners — and LeBron honored his contract.” This is not the first time “master and slave” comparison has been levied in sports. Curt Flood famously sued Major League Baseball (MLB) in 1969 for the right to be a free agent. The St. Louis Cardinal was “owned for life”–much like a slave, he said, he was just a well paid slave—as most teams owned their players for that duration. Can you imagine LeBron not being able to leave Cleveland? Can you imagine in this day a team of any sport owning a player and dismissing him/her whenever they so choose (sometimes teams consult players to help them land in a good place–so can you imagine a team not consulting the player?). Can you imagine a player not being able to take his/her skills on the market to earn top dollar for their craft?

LeBron’s decision was made for him when Flood defeated MLB. Without his freedom to choose, for Flood he could not fully participate or enjoy in obtaining the American Dream. When I watched the LeBron special, all I could do was think of Bernard Chartres, who said “we are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than they, and things at a greater distance, not by virtue of any sharpness of sight on our part, or any physical distinction, but because we are carried high and raised up by their giant size.”

  1. This is really unbelivable. I cannot believe in this article.

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