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Sportress of Blogitude

Antonio Gates takes issue with LeBron James’ critical comments about NFL owners

LeBron James recently made some controversial remarks critical of NFL owners, calling them “old white men” who harbor a “slave mentality.” Consider NFL legend Antonio Grates in the camp that takes issue with the NBA superstar’s stinging commentary.

Gates was recently approached by a TMZ Sports camera crew and asked about James’ comments. Saying he could not speak for any other player beyond himself, the Los Angeles Chargers tight end articulated he does not necessarily share James’ sentiments.

“I don’t know all the owners—I know my owner. And, my relationship with my owner has been phenomenal,” Gates said, as transcribed by Bleacher Report. “And, it’s sports. You know what I mean? You get paid to play. … We all know what we sign up for.”

James’ “slave mentality” comments came amid a broader discussion aired in an episode of his HBO show, “The Shop,” about how the NBA stands in stark contrast to the NFL due to the former’s guaranteed player contracts, something the latter league lacks.

There have been several occasions when NFL players have bemoaned the relative disadvantage and arguable unfairness of their contract situations when compared to other professional sports leagues.

Gates, however, appears relatively accepting of the nature and terms of his league’s player deals, even though he expressed hope that NFL contracts would evolve to include more financial security as a norm at some point.

“A lot of us make a really good living, man, being able to support our families at the same time,” Gates said. “So, it is what it is.”

The nature of NFL contracts obviously are a polarizing issue. James’ provocative comments certainly help further the debate, but that does not mean everyone, even some NFL players, feel compelled to agree with him.