Cavs Owner Dan Gilbert Fined $100K for Open Letter

July 13th, 2010 by Staff

www.wpix.com – Last week’s open letter to Cavalier fans written by majority owner Dan Gilbert will cost the team $100,000, NBA Commissioner David Stern announced.

Gilbert unleashed his disgust with former Cavs forward LeBron James Thursday just moments after James announced he intended to sign with the Miami Heat during a one-hour special on ESPN.

Portions of the letter condemned the way James bid farewell to the city he called home for so long, reading, “This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his ‘decision’ unlike anything ever ‘witnessed’ in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.”

In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Gilbert called his letter a ‘rally cry.’ Another part of the letter read, “If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our ‘motivation’ to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.”

To read Dan Gilbert’s entire open letter to fans, click here.

Perhaps the most stunning statement in the letter was a vow that Cleveland will experience victory before James does. Gilbert wrote, “I personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA championship before the self-titled former ‘King’ wins one. You can take it to the bank.”

Those very words are taking the Cavaliers to the bank, and forcing the team to cough up a $100,000 fine.

“I think that the remarks by Dan Gilbert, the owner of the Cavaliers, catalyzed as they may have been by hurt with respect to the manner and the fact, for himself or his team, and particularly for the people of Cleveland, though understandable were ill advised and imprudent,” Stern said, “And I have notified Cleveland that they will be fined $100,000 for those remarks under my power as commissioner.”

Stern weighed-in on James’ decision and said that he was “entitled” to decide to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat, but would have advised him to tell the Cavaliers ahead of time.

When contacted by Fox 8 News, Cavaliers spokesman Tad Carper said the team would have no statement about the fine.

Plenty of other figures have been willing to make statements about the letter, however, with the Rev. Jesse Jackson putting a racial spin on the situation. Jackson said, “[Gilbert] speaks as an owner of LeBron and not the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers. His feelings of betrayal personify a slave-master mentality . He sees LeBron as a runaway slave.”

Gilbert’s rebuttal to Jackson’s scrutiny was simply, “I strongly disagree with Rev. Jesse Jackson’s recent comments 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.”

Fox 8 News and FOX8.com will continue to follow the developments on Dan Gilbert’s open letter to fans. Check back for updates often.


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