MSNBC hosts have a penchant for race-based hyperbole but few have gone as far as to assert what Melissa Harris-Perry did on her show, comparing the NBA to plantation slavery.
Setting up a story on Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and another on reparations, Harris-Perry said “you can’t talk about reparations and ignore the modern day wealthy Americans who own teams made up predominantly of black men and profit from their bodies and labor.”
When she came back to the topic after playing a clip of Mark Cuban talking about race and Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, she said “Wealthy owners? Check. Profit from the sale of black bodies? Check. Racial angst? Mmm, check.”
Unjustified race baiting? Check.
As Tom Tillison of BizPac Review notes “for the record, NBA players are the highest paid professional athletes in America, easily surpassing all other major team sports. According to Forbes, the average salary in the NBA in 2012 was $5.15 million a year. With the average career lasting 4.8 years, that equates to $24.7 million in total compensation – this is the “average.” The NBA’s top player, Kobe Bryant, yes a black man, earned $30.4 million for the 2013-14 season, USA Today reported.”
She says the NBA is filled with predominantly black teams like it’s a bad thing for black people that African-American players are statistically superior to white men in basketball. Was the NBA not filled with wealthy owners who profited off the bodies and labor of white men when the league did not allow black players? Are we forgetting that some of the league’s top stars like Kevin Love (fourth leading scorer in 2014), Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, David Lee, Andrew Bogut, and countless others are white?
There is absolutely a complicated race situation in the United States today. A situation exacerbated by media pundits with too much air time to fill and only one subject to fixate on.