MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry: NBA Is About 'Profit From the Sale of Black Bodies'

May 28th, 2014 1:35 AM

Melissa Harris-Perry seems to have a problem with some African-Americans making a lot of money in professional sports, apparently because some other people also make money in the process. Specifically, she seems to believe that the relationship between players in the National Basketball Association and their teams' owners is a form of slavery.

It's hard to conclude otherwise based on statements made by the MSNBC host this past Saturday. Perry introduced her segment about the Mark Cuban "controversy," wherein the owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks expressed self-preservation-related desires — which he inexplicably attributed to being personally "prejudiced" and "bigoted" — to move to the other side of the street upon seeing a "black kid in a hoodie" or "a white guy with a shaved head and lot of tattoos," by saying: "You can’t really talk about (slavery) reparations and ignore the modern day wealthy Americans who own teams made up predominantly of black men and profit from their bodies and labor." In case viewers missed her take the first time, she went there again, as seen in the video which follows the jump (HT TruthRevolt via BizPac Review):


MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY: Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, who sounded a note of caution. While Cuban called (Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald) Sterling's remarks "abhorrent," he warned that a blanket call for the NBA to kick Sterling out of the league for something he said in private was, quote, a "very, very slippery slope."

In interviews published this week by Inc. Magazine, Cuban waded even deeper into the complicated discourse on race in this country.

MARK CUBAN: I know I'm prejudiced. I know I'm bigoted, in a lot of different ways.

Y'know, and I've said this before. If I see a black kid in a hoodie at night on the other side of the street — y'know, on the same side of the street — I'm probably going to walk to the other side of the street. If I see a white guy with a shaved head and lots of tattoos, I'm going back to the other side of the street.

HARRIS-PERRY: All right so let's review the whole story. Wealthy owners? Check. Profit made from the sale of black bodies? Check. Racial angst? Mmm, check. We're going to have more on the case for reparations after this.

Tom Tillison at 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.

Maybe I've missed them, but I haven't seen any reports of NBA players being herded into their quarters at night or punished after being apprehended for leaving their owners' plantations.

Some of Harris-Perry's recent contributions to "the complicated discourse on race in this country" include the following:

  • (Dec. 2013) Characterizing the term "Obamacare" as "conceived of by a group of wealthy white men who needed a way to put themselves above and apart from a black man, to render him inferior and unequal and to diminish his accomplishments."
  • (Dec. 2013) Participating in an MSNBC panel of "comedians" who brutally mocked 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his family for posting a Christmas photo of his family, including their newly adopted African-American grandson. She later apologized on Twitter and later on the air.
  • (July 2013) Claiming that the U.S. is in a "third Reconstruction" because the Supreme Court had the nerve to declare an antiquated section of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional.
  • (February 2013) Leading an MSNBC panel which did nothing but "sit around and tell race jokes on-air." Her joke picked on Jewish mothers.

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