Cavs owner defends stance on LeBron

Dan Gilbert disagrees with Jesse Jackson's comments, says he won't discuss the matter further

Published July 12, 2010 9:27PM (EDT)

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert says he "strongly" disagrees with Jesse Jackson's criticism of his recent comments about superstar LeBron James.

Following James' announcement last week that he was leaving Cleveland to join the Miami Heat, Gilbert fired off an incendiary letter to Cavs fans, ripping the 25-year-old and calling his decision "cowardly behavior." Later, Gilbert told The Associated Press that he felt the NBA's two-time MVP quit during the playoffs the past two years and that James "has gotten a free pass."

On Sunday, Jackson responded to Gilbert's remarks by saying the Cavs owner sees James as a "runaway slave" and that Gilbert's comments put the player in danger.

In a statement released by the team on Monday, Gilbert tried to put an end to the issue.

"I strongly disagree with Rev. Jesse Jackson's recent comments and we are not going to engage in any related discussion on it," Gilbert said. "Going forward, we're very excited about the Cavaliers and the positive future of our region."

Gilbert is in Las Vegas attending the owners' meetings.

James' publicist, Keith Estabrook, declined comment to The AP.

By Tom Withers

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