“MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry: NBA Is About ‘Profit From the Sale of Black Bodies,'” as spotted by Tom Blumer of NewsBusters:
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.”
Blumer goes on to quote Tom Tillison of BizPac Review, who notes that “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.
The chief reason professional athletes arrive in the One Percent (to borrow from the left’s lingo) is because of the amount of television revenue professional sports such as the NBA bring in. To end this system, Perry is de facto calling for the end of televised sports. As an on-air personality of MSNBC, she’s also a spokeswoman for Comcast, the giant cable company which co-owns the network. It shouldn’t be difficult at all for her to arrange a meeting with the top brass there, during which she can call for the end of televised sports.* I’m sure the Comcast board will heed her advice, right?
As Glenn Reynolds Insta-quips in response to Harris-Perry’s latest in a series of racist outbursts (perhaps the most infamous of which was trashing Mitt Romney’s adopted black grandson last year, for which MHP feigned tears to keep her job), “I agree. Shut them down now!”
So what happens if her modest proposal is implemented? As one of Glenn’s commenters notes:
The typical NBA owner got rich before he bought an NBA team. He didn’t need the NBA to get rich. If the NBA never existed, he would still be rich.
The typical NBA player has no way to make anywhere near the money they’re making in the NBA other than the NBA. If the NBA never existed, “LeBron” at best would be a pretty good construction worker somewhere in northeast Ohio. Most of the rest of the players would be mediocre french fry jockies.
And as another Insta-commenter writes, MHP’s rhetoric would also “include almost the entire rap music industry too, wouldn’t it?”
In the old days, music was your ticket out of the ghetto. For Tupac, rap was a ticket into a kind of psychological ghetto. William Bennett supposedly shamed Time-Warner into selling their stake in Interscope, who control Death Row — one of those “maverick” “authentic” “independent” labels that are, in fact, operating units of the biggest corporations in the world. But, if you scan the fine print on the album, you’ll see that 2Pac’s songs were co-published by Warner-Tamerlane, Chappell, Polygram, EMI-Virgin, MCA, Ascap, BMI… The biggest, most respected names in the music business are all in there, profiting in some small way from 2Pac’s brief thug life. It is, in the end, minstrelsy; black pain, even unto death, served up for the amusement of white audiences. He wasn’t an “authentic voice of the black urban poor”: 75 per cent of rap’s sales are to white suburban youth; they’re the ones sending off for the hooded sweatshirts you can order from the merchandising pullouts in Pac’s album so they can play gangsta in residential cul de sacs.
No word yet if Melissa Harris-Perry will demand that Comcast also switch off the feed for MTV as well.
*No word yet when MSNBC will convince its other parent, NBC, to give up NASCAR for Gaia. And because racism — but then, it’s always all racism, all the time at MSNBC.