Diaried at Kos.

This week, Cleveland’s city planning commission denied permission for Nike to replace the giant 10 story Lebron James banner across the street from Quicken Loans arena with this new one…

20fMural.jpg

…for obvious reasons.

Commission member Norman Krumholz called James’ image on the mural “terribly negative.”

James’ grim visage and hardened stance play to a stereotype of young, urban black men as menacing and aggressive, a city design-review official said Thursday.

Stanley Miller, executive director of the Cleveland NAACP, said in an interview Friday that the James mural bothered him.

“The media depict [African-Americans] in a more aggressive, forceful, athletic — combative, if you will — position,” Miller said. “The biggest challenge I have with boys is to build their understanding that there’s more to achieve than being a football player, basketball player or rap star.”

Nike isn’t the only major company leaping across the line of racial sensitivity in Cleveland regarding Lebron James. In fact, this might be the image that captures the reality most accurately.

nike-hope-hate

Like most professional sports teams, the Cleveland Cavaliers broadcast their games on a Clear Channel-owned AM radio station, WTAM 1100, that also airs Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. It’s time for Lebron James to address that. Not because he’s a Barack Obama endorser. Not because he’s a star. But because Lebron’s a young black man who unquestionably has the power to stop it.

Most of us are fully aware of the racial hate speech that both Beck and Limbaugh spew on a daily basis. Limbaugh called the NBA “the Thug Basketball Association”

Call it the TBA, the Thug Basketball Association … They’re going in to watch the Crips and the Bloods

…Limbaugh’s called basketball “the favorite sport of gangs.”

Midnight basketball — I mean, we’ve done it all. We’ve taken the favorite sport of gangs, and we put it at midnight to get them on the basketball court.

…said that Barack Obama’s America is a place where

You put your kids on a school bus you expect safety but in Obama’s America the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering ‘yeah, right on, right on, right on.’

…and we all know that Beck called Lebron James-endorsed Barack Obama a “racist” with a “deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.”

I took it upon myself to find out how the Cavs, Lebron, and Shaquille O’Neal feel about sharing airtime and revenue streams with this hate speech, in an article last month in Cleveland’s newest alt weekly, The Indpendent.

Beck and Limbaugh may not be on the Cavs roster this coming season, but they are certainly on the same team ? WTAM?s. The Browns, Indians, and Cavs are a golden goose for WTAM. All three professional franchises make WTAM their radio home. And as long as anyone can remember, WTAM has also been the home of conservative talk radio in Cleveland. Joining the six hours of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh every day are an array of Cleveland conservative ditto heads.

If the Cavs ever cared about being sandwiched into the nooks between Beck, Limbaugh, and their ilk, it doesn?t show. Both Beck and Limbaugh advertise during Cavs games on WTAM, their voices mixing with Joe Tait?s as Tait brings WTAM out of commercial and back to the game. WTAM milks their golden geese one after the other, the revenue streams almost indistinguishable.

No one from the Cavs, WTAM, the Lebron James camp, or Shaq’s, has commented, nor have they made Lebron or Shaq aware of the issue.

It?s hard to see how Lebron, Shaq, and the Cavs can avoid addressing this for the entire 2009-2010 season. Beck and Limbaugh have proven they are willing to plumb the depths of the long sleeping cesspool of racial hate speech for their own enrichment… Meanwhile, Lebron and Shaq, two very powerful African Americans, each with the influence and support to affect change at WTAM, sit quietly on the sidelines.

The silence indicates the enormity of the stakes. What Lebron wants, Lebron gets. Lebron wanted Shaq – got him. Lebron wanted a new practice facility, it was built. Everyone on earth knows that if Lebron says the word, the Cavs leave WTAM the very next minute. And if that happens, every NBA team on an AM radio station sharing air with Rush and Beck will have the same problem. Which likely explains how freaked out Cavs spokesman Tad Carper was when he called me on the phone, from a game, in a panic.

Before I could even ask a question, Tad launched into what I can only describe as a rant, all of which Tad wanted off the record. He more than once claimed I was trying to ?blackmail? the Cavs. Tad wondered if the Cavs left WTAM, when would someone else say something objectionable? Where does it end, Tad begged? You?re making us a pawn in your agenda, Tad howled. People listen to those two, they?re popular, Tad cried. I thought Tad might be a Dittohead.

I’m guessing that both Lebron and Shaq would step up in a heartbeat, but neither probably has any idea how dangerous, incendiary, inciting to violence, and racist the airtime has become on the Cavs radio home. The Cavs simply should not broadcast their games on that air and should not share revenue streams with WTAM, unless WTAM cleans up the air. And if Lebron, or Shaq, says the word, WTAM’s air gets cleaned up, or the Cavs are gone. Period.

So we need to make Lebron and Shaq aware of the hate speech they share airtime with.

I’d like to ask this community to help put the pressure on the Cavs to do the right thing, and end the broadcast of their games on WTAM. This is a tough situation for this hope-filled Cavs fan, but it’s time. Even this Friday night, on my way home from filming Palinbots in Columbus, I had to listen to Glenn Beck’s voice of hate advertising his show on a Cavs broadcast while I was stuck in the car.

It’s not about a difference of opinion. It’s about hate. WTAM’s blowhards can be as wingnutty as they want, and I wouldn’t care that Lebron shared their airtime. A line, however, has been demonstratively crossed, into hate speech.

My hometown hero, Lebron James, who grew up in an inner-city neighborhood that suffers to this day because of this level of hate, doesn’t belong associated with it. Ever. Enough is enough.

So here’s the email address for Lebron’s publicity agent, Keith Estabrook.

keith@estabrookgroup.com

Here’s a list of emails for the Cavs, including owner Dan Gilbert.

dangilbert@quickenloans.com
lkomoroski@cavs.com
gnarain@cavs.com
AMercado@cavs.com
TCarper@cavs.com

Here’s Cindy Hamilton, Nike spokesperson.

cindy.hamilton@nike.com

Here’s the Cleveland NAACP email.

information@clevelandnaacp.org

And here’s a list of emails for WTAM and Clear Channel, also known as the “no chance, but more pressure is good pressure” list.

news@wtam.com
thebigone@wtam.com
georgeallen@clearchannel.com
michellehurst@clearchannel.com
sharonmoses@clearchannel.com
rewards@wtam.com

If you feel the same way I do, please email them all this image of Lebron, Beck, and Limbaugh, and ask the Cavs to stop airing their games on a radio station that airs racial hate speech. If your favorite team shares air time with Rush & Beck, post their email contact info in this diary, and hit them up, too.

It’s wrong. And it should stop.

nike-hope-hate

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  • lulumctavish

    Emailed all. Posted on Twitter and FB. Trying to do my part.

    (and as a little fan girly I just have to say the pic of Lebron is freakin' hot..)

  • WestSider

    I thought Mr. Gilbert owned the team. What's a Player got to do with the Team's contract with a Radio Station?

  • thank you! we're gonna keep bangin on it

  • the player makes the money.

  • ArnoldS

    It is a curious proposition. Should the “Player” be traded to another team, does that change your position?

  • WestSider

    Probably a bigger issue than that stated above about a radio station… in this instance, folks are losing jobs to the Chinese.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/11/24/schu

    Quote from story “”I think it's horrible,” Wampole told FoxNews.com of the impending move. “They're American teams, they should all be wearing American garments.”

    New York Sen. Charles Schumer on Tuesday blasted Adidas' move as “short-sighted” and called on the compnay to reverse its decision.

    I agree.

    Is LeBron big enough to have a say, Tim?

  • Andy

    Yes, control free speech like a totalitarian regime via LeBron James! This is hilarious for many reasons. One, Beck and Limbaugh or syndicated throughout the U.S., and Cleveland will be no exception. WTAM is owned by ClearChannel and most of the decisions are up to them. LeBron James has nothing on ClearChannel, a media giant.

    Here's another thing: liberal talk radio has little to no success. Akron used to have a liberal talk station and it failed. WTAM actually tried Jerry Springer in Glenn Beck's timeslot, but the ratings were horrible because the fact is that most people see the liberal talk as more hateful than the conversative talk.

    I don't listen to Rush or Beck, because there are other radio talk programs I prefer to listen to during their timeslots. But, those comments you posted are really an opinion and apparently too shocking for you to handle. The media has plenty of liberal spin going for it so a little alternative opinion in there is not really just a bad thing. It's your opinion that it is hate speech. I know you want to eradicate all opposition but only conversative national outlets wanted to report on the white family attacked in Akron this past summer.

    Listen to what you want to listen to.

  • Some Guy

    But nither Rush nor Beck are racists, but you wouldn't know that, since you clearly don't actually listen to them. you're just another ignorant lefty. Fanatic.

  • Some Guy

    But nither Rush nor Beck are racists, but you wouldn't know that, since you clearly don't actually listen to them. you're just another ignorant lefty. Fanatic.

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