NBA owner: “I have prejudices; everyone does”

DALLAS, Texas — Mark Cuban is known for making pointed statements. Usually they are directed at the NBA brass or referees. Or contestants on the TV show “Shark Tank.”

On Wednesday, he made a few remarks about bigotry that in light of the Donald Sterling scandal caused a bit of an uproar.

In an interview with Inc. magazine at a business conference in Nashville, Tennessee, the Dallas Mavericks owner and billionaire entrepreneur talked about his own bigotry.

“If I see a black kid in a hoodie and it’s late at night, I’m walking to the other side of the street,” he said. “And if on that side of the street, there’s a guy that has tattoos all over his face — white guy, bald head, tattoos everywhere — I’m walking back to the other side of the street.”
Team owners behaving badly Team owners behaving badly

Cuban said everyone has prejudices “in one way or the other.”

The Mavericks owner issued a five-part tweet Thursday afternoon in which he apologized to Trayvon Martin’s parents for the hoodie reference, but stood by the context of his answers and called for more tolerance.

Martin, a Florida teenager, was wearing a hoodie when he was killed by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman in 2012. The case sparked a heated nationwide discussion about race as well as a debate over Florida’s “stand your ground” law.

Cuban wrote: “I think that helping people improve their lives, helping people engage with people they may fear or may not understand, and helping people realize that while we all may have our prejudices and bigotries, we have to learn that it’s an issue that we have to control, that it’s part of my responsibility as an entrepreneur to try to solve it.”

CNN commentator and ESPN senior writer LZ Granderson said he thought Cuban was trying to have a nuanced conversation but didn’t do it very well.

Granderson said he was disturbed that Cuban equated the hoodie stereotype — something he said has led to unjust treatment of African-Americans and even killings — to the stereotype of the tattooed white man.

“One has history and the other doesn’t or the same sort of emotional response,” Granderson said.

Cuban is one of 30 NBA owners who’ll decide whether racist remarks made by Sterling are damaging enough to terminate his ownership rights to the Los Angeles Clippers. Cuban told business owners during a Q&A session that he knows how he will vote but wasn’t ready to announce his decision.

Granderson still expects Cuban to vote against Sterling on June 3 when the NBA Board of Governors meets to decide the fate of the Clippers franchise.

“If you listen to the entire interview, he certainly made it sound as if he’s going to vote Sterling out, but not without some regret,” Granderson said. “And he voiced that regret, which is we all have bigotry.”

In his interview Cuban said when he runs into bigotry in his organizations, he tries to find solutions.

It does society no good to respond to someone’s racism or bigotry by telling them to “go take their attitude somewhere else,” he said.

It’s better to work with them and teach them why their views are wrong.

When Cuban was asked how you keep bigotry out of the NBA, where he has been an owner since 2000, he told the conference audience: “You can’t keep that ugliness out of the league. There’s no law against stupid. I learned that a long time ago.”

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7 comments

  • blahblah

    I wonder what this nimrod would do if there was a black kid in a hoodie on one side of the street and a white bald guy with tattoos on the other side of the street.

  • Les63

    Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason and it’s only natural to be afraid of what could happen to you or your family. If you’re in the group being stereotyped then it’s up to you and other good people in this group to disown and reject these people!! Stop defending hoodlums. You only hurt yourselves and the decent people in your community.

  • TheWalkingDead^S5

    If i was in this situation i would probably just make a slight detour. If that dosent work-Then i’ll call George Zimmerman an let him deal with both of’em

  • midtown mike

    I guess I must be a prejudiced bigot because when I see a teen or grown man with their pants waistline riding halfway down their thighs the only thing I can think is that they’re a bird brained idiot.

  • thehood

    this is getting is getting way out of hand. If anyone says anything about an african american that person is a racist. This is BS. I see wearing hoodies in the summer time. Just because we have a half white president who looks black, we can’t anything about a black. We are determined to be racist, and need to resign, or sell the team, etc., like I said this is all BS.

    • mission

      I agree with you hood. The blacks are looking to rid the white people of any power they may have. That’s okay, once the blacks are in charge, things will go to hell in a hand basket. But remember, Obama has two more years to go, then who will the blacks have in their corner. Nobody, maybe Wharton, Sharpton, Jackson but they are a joke also.

      • Qtypye75

        Excuse me but there is a lot I can say about Bush but I am not going there….the issue is when you feel a certain type of way you keep it to yourself. There are many things I can say about other races but I don’t. Comments have been made to me about my race and how they think I feel about Obama….they don’t know me or how I feel don’t assume you know what all African Americans feel especially if you are on the outside looking in. There are some things I may have agreed with that Bush did some I may not have, same with Obama and other presidents. This country is so twisted when it comes to race and leadership. Wrong is wrong and there is no way to twist wrong and make it look right. Get a grip. Until you have lived in the shoes of a Hispanic, African American or any other minority you cannot possibly no what they go through on a daily basis. I’m not saying Caucasians don’t get treated different because I am sure they do but if you look back at history it doesn’t happen as often as it does with other races. It’s an indiviual thing, racism will always exist even with kids (whom are taught, nobody is born racist). I raise my child to respect everybody no matter the color of their skin because in the end who will have to account for those actions, the person themselves. It goes without saying, “TREAT PEOPLE THE WAY YOU WANT TO BE TREATED!”

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