Forty Million Dollar Slaves: Part 2

After reading the Sports Illustrated article called “Forty Million Dollar Slaves” earlier this week I’ve found a lot of my reading material has involved this topic so far this week.

While reading through Relevant Magazine this afternoon an article called “Let My People Go” by Eric Sullivan had a stat that 27 million people are in modern day slavery across the world. 27 MILLION! That number is nothing short of shocking for this Canadian kid who’s grown up in Toronto suburbs where enough money to pay for rent, food and entertainment is expected.

In that same article by Sullivan he had a great quote by Leo Tolstoy that gives a lot of merit to Rhoden’s book. Tolstoy says that “the essence of all slavery consists in taking the product of another’s labour by force. It is immaterial whether this force be founded upon ownership or the slave or ownership of the money that he must get to live.”

Doesn’t this quote by Tolstoy perfectly sum up what David Stern and his misfits do to players in the NBA? If the League doesn’t like your style of clothing they fine you. If you speak your mind to reporters following the game they fine you. If you have a problem with an authority figure they fine you.
Later in the magazine an article by Rich Warren grabbed my attention because of some of the quotes that he drops. Warren’s article was called “How Do You Know What’s True?” and he states in his article that, “I wanted to know the truth, even if it was inconvenient. Truth can be discovered, but first we have to have an attitude of openness that says, ‘I want the truth more than anything else.’ Once you discover that attitude, you can discover the truth.

When I went to Chapters on Tuesday to pick up the book I was told they don’t have it in stock but as soon as I get a copy you can expect me to post snippets from the book as I read through it. I haven’t read the book yet but based on these quotes and the excerpts from the book that I have read it looks like it’s going to be a great book for sports fans to read.

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4 thoughts on “Forty Million Dollar Slaves: Part 2

  1. Re: Tolstoy
    #1 One shouldn’t take a Russian thinker seriously when it comes to economics or political systems.
    #2 One shouldn’t take a practicing anarchist seriously when it comes to anything.

    Anything Tolstoy appears to support should lose “a lot of merit”.

    Re: Slaves
    Slaves can’t quit. Basketball players can. The premise is faulty. You are getting caught up in psuedo-intelligentsia.

    To call multi-millionaires “slaves” whose families will not have to work a day for generations is a severe disservice to the 27 million actual slaves. Don’t drink the kool-aid. Ther e is NO arguement that book can contain that justifies calling MJ or Kobe or Vince Carter a slave. Slaves don’t get to demand to be traded. Its rediculous and buying in doesn’t make you look smart.

  2. I think that the author might be taking things a little far, but I also think that there’s some truth to this. The fact that players are tied down to whatever rules Stern and Co dictate means that despite all of their personal wealth they are still being told how to act and dress by the owners. So while there’s the illusion that they are rich and in control the reality is they have very little control over their lives while they are employed by the NBA.

  3. Last time I checked slaves don’t voluntarily enter into contracts that essentially say “I agree to follow the rules of this corporation, as agreed upon by the union that represents me, which I also joined voluntarily.”

    I think “little control over their lives” is a bit of an extreme statement. They can’t swear in public and have to wear business casual when they go to work. What else is there beside that? My god, the crimes against humanity. Slaves everywhere should be offended.

  4. I think the author’s whole point is metaphorical, but there are some players out there that totally went against the grain so to speak. You have guys who get in the league, don’t invest and spend their money on cars, bling etc. But then again, you have guys who actually did something with their fame, you have guys building whole hospitals (Mutombo) and guys who are enriching and developing the inner cities (Magic). Keep in mind, no one kidnapped any of these guys, separated them from their families against their will or beat them into playing an 82 game season for millions of people that love watching them play. It’s kind of like Spree going crazy about “Not being able to feed his kids”. Last time I checked, the minimum NBA salary was like $412,718. I don’t know about y’all, but I’d wear a suit and tie, be a model citizen in public and a role model, when all I have to do is show up and shoot, maybe all I have to do is RIDE THE BENCH. But slavery, nah…that’s a little too heavy. I can see the point I think he’s trying to make, I think he’s being a little to “extra” with it. I’d still check it out though…

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