NBA exec: Gumbel's slavery analogy "outrageous"

Journalist Bryant Gumbel attends the 2010 Library Lions Benefit at The New York Public Library on November 1, 2010 in New York City.
Photo by Henry S. Dziekan III/Getty Images

NEW YORK - NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver calls Bryant Gumbel's comments on HBO about Commissioner David Stern "outrageous."

In his closing commentary on Tuesday's "Real Sports," the longtime TV host said Stern had "always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer treating NBA men as if they were his boys."

Filling in for the ill Stern at an NBA news conference Thursday, Silver says: "I can't speak for David, and the only personal comment is, I thought it was outrageous."

The league has declined comment on Gumbel's remarks.

As's Ben Golliver notes, Gumbel and a vast majority of NBA players are African-American. Stern is not. The following is a transcript of Gumbel's editorial.

"Finally, tonight, if the NBA lockout is going to be resolved any time soon, it seems likely to be done in spite of David Stern, not because of him," Gumbel said. "I say that because the NBA's infamously egocentric commissioner seemed more hellbent recently on demeaning the players rather than his game's labor impasse.

"How else to explain Stern's rants in recent days. To any and everyone who would listen, he has alternately knocked union leader Billy Hunter, said the players were getting inaccurate information, and started sounding 'Chicken Little' claims about what games might be lost if players didn't soon see things his way.

"Stern's version of what has been going on behind closed doors has of course been disputed, but his efforts were typical of a commissioner who has always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer, treating NBA men as if they were his boys. It's part of Stern's M.O., like his past self-serving edicts on dress code and the questioning of officials. His moves were intended to do little more than show how he's the one keeping the hired hands in their place.

"Some will of course cringe at that characterization but Stern's disdain for the players is as palpable and pathetic as his motives are transparent. Yes, the NBA's business model is broken. But to fix it, maybe the league's commissioner should concern himself most with the solution and stop being part of the problem."

Here's video of Silver's comment on Bryant Gumbel's editorial against David Stern: