The owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers says he "strongly disagree(s)" with the Rev. Jesse Jackson's criticism of his own criticism of LeBron James' departure from the Cavs.
“I strongly disagree with Rev. Jesse Jackson’s recent comments," Gilbert said in a statement, "and we are not going to engage in any related discussion on it. Going forward, we’re very excited about the Cavaliers and the positive future of our region.”
Gilbert issued the statement after Jackson said over the weekend that Gilbert was acting from a "slave mentality" when he published an angry letter about LeBron James' choice to sign with the Miami Heat.
Gilbert told fans they didn't deserve the "cowardly betrayal" of their hometown hero, who announced his decision in a live primetime special Thursday to play for the Miami Heat with other prized free agents, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
But Jackson said Gilbert was acting in a condescending manner.
"He speaks as an owner of LeBron and not the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers," Jackson said in a statement from Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
The civil rights leader labeled the bruised owner's comments as "mean, arrogant and presumptuous."
"His feelings of betrayal personify a slave master mentality. He sees LeBron as a runaway slave," he said. "This is an owner employee relationship - between business partners - and LeBron honored his contract."