Last week, LeBron James tackled the most controversial topic in sports, next to Colin Kaepernick and the National Anthem. In the latest episode of James’ HBO series, “The Shop,” the King compared NFL owners to that of the NBA, and likened the mindset of the “old white men” in charge of the NFL to slave owners.
”In the NFL they got a bunch of old white men owning teams and they got that slave mentality,” James said on Friday. “And it’s like, ‘This is my team. You do what the f_*k I tell y’all to do. Or we get rid of y’all.”
Bron’s statement made headlines, and prompted a response from fans – many of which praised the basketball player for speaking out. While others disagreed with the superstar’s choice of words, including NFL TE #AntonioGates.
In a recent interview with TMZ, Gates defended his own personal relationship with his team owner and refuted James’ “slave mentality” claim.
“I don’t know all the owners — I know my owner,” Gates said. “And, my relationship with my owner has been phenomenal. And, it’s sports. You know what I mean? You get paid to play.”
“We all know what we sign up for,” Gates added, as he highlighted the ‘real’ difference between the NFL and the NBA – guaranteed contracts. But, as for the comparison between NFL owners and slave owners, Gates said he doesn’t see it, because at the end of the day, they sign up and get paid good money to be expendable.
“A lot of us make a really good living, man,” Gates said. “Being able to support our families at the same time. So, it is what it is.”