Bryant Gumbel Stands With NBA Millionaires

The Bottom Line: Hoops slavery, music's new royalties cop, Detroit's mayor exults over jobs and more.

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Bryant Gumbel Says NBA Commissioner Treats Players Like Slaves

On his recent HBO's Real Sports broadcast, Bryant Gumbel said that NBA Commissioner David Stern, who has been going one-on-one with the NBA Players Association over a new collective bargaining agreement for months, continually used tactics that were demeaning to the athletes. "[Stern] has always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer, treating NBA men as if they were his boys. It's part of Stern's M.O., like his past self-serving edicts on dress code and the questioning of officials. His moves were intended to do little more than show how he's the one keeping the hired hands in their place," said Gumbel.

The television host has every right to stand up for millionaires working for billionaires, but he should remember that slaves received no salary, saw family members sold off and were whipped. NBA players should be offended by Stern's tactics, but they are definitely not wage slaves.

ELC Salutes Top Corporate Execs

Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox; Hazel O'Leary, president of Fisk University; and Price WaterhouseCoopers International were honored last week at the annual gala of the Executive Leadership Council, the organization of top-ranked African Americans in corporate life.

Some 2,200 senior executives at corporations and other institutions attended the ELC's 25th Annual Recognition Gala, a black-tie event last Thursday outside Washington, D.C. Hosted by Deborah Roberts and Al Roker, the event was held at the Gaylord National Hotel in National Harbor, Md.

The ELC is an elite membership organization for senior black business leaders. The organization reports that senior executives at 380 Fortune 500 companies belong to the ELC and that the average member has 27 years of experience and oversight for $4 billion to $6 billion. Find out more here.

Musical Creative Artists Have a New Best Friend and Enforcer: Susan Austin

Susan Davenport Austin was elected chairman of the board of directors of Broadcast Music, Inc. The company represents more than 500,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers and collects license fees on their behalf, then distributes the royalties to members whose work has been performed publicly. Austin is the first woman and the first black elected to serve as BMI board chairman.

She is a director, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Sheridan Broadcasting Corp., which her family founded, and president of the Sheridan Gospel Network. Sheridan also owns American Urban Radio Networks. The former investment banker received her B.A. in math at Harvard University and an M.B.A. from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.