Cuban Misspeak Crisis? Nah

If I were walking down the street and encountered someone wearing a hoodie, of any race, I wouldn’t cross the street to avoid him or her. Same if it were someone with tattoos and a bald head. Would my guard be elevated? Perhaps.

His examples were clunky, but I think what Mark Cuban said Thursday regarding racism was honest and universal. He related a lot of things many of us think, but don’t have the courage to say.

The awkwardness of Cuban’s example of encountering people on the street says a lot about racism. Even someone as smart and articulate as the Dallas Mavericks’ billionaire owner has a difficult time expressing his precise feelings on the topic.

When the Donald Sterling racist-comments issue first erupted my initial reaction was the same as many, if not most people — this guy’s a cretin and a terrible human being and he needs to be out of the NBA.

I was on vacation in Las Vegas, so I didn’t write about it. And about a day later my thoughts had changed to, hey, even if this guy is a cretin and a terrible human being, he’s within his rights to say what he wants, right? Should he be penalized by having his business taken away?

Especially considering Sterling’s less-publicized prior record of unsavory behavior, it became obvious that this was an issue of timing and the NBA had to act quickly in admonishment of  Sterling or perhaps suffer a player walkout in the middle of the playoffs.

With his comments, Cuban expounded on why punishing Sterling for unpopular thoughts, beliefs and speech is a “slippery slope” as he described it early on.

If you read or watch the entire interview you will get much more out of it than via snippets, which can easily be misinterpreted in the context of what Cuban is really trying to say. Cuban doesn’t say how he will vote in the June 3 owners’ meeting, in which a three-quarters vote can terminate his ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers. Now  Sterling has agreed to turn over his stake in the franchise to his wife, and that could complicate or simplify things.

I applaud Cuban for speaking so candidly, and also for apologizing to Trayvon Martin’s family for the hoodie example while standing by his overall message and stimulating discussion of a topic that is important for all Americans, basketball fans or not.


  1. innocent observer May 23, 2014 2:30 pm

    maybe Cuban should be banished by the NBA for his racists comments too. he was trying to defend sterling (and his comments about blacks), but then he admitted he too is a racists. yes, it may have been a poor example, but usually spontaneous comments do reflect the person’s true feelings. these white owners are making millions if not billions of dollars from the black athletes, but they still don’t consider them “humans”, they still denigrate them in private and sometimes it slips out in public. this is just like the slavery days in the 1800’s, where the white masters used the black slaves for their own benefit, only now they must pay them a fair wage; but in their hearts, they are still not on par with them.

  2. Lowtone123 May 23, 2014 2:34 pm

    Although being a racist is neither illegal or a reason to give up your franchise, you still must adhere to a code of conduct which is fitting of a team owner. If you deemed to have hurt the league, it’s brand name, it’s image, integrity or the other team owners feel like you are costing the league or the teams money, that is enough reason to get rid of you. Is it legal? I guess if Sterling wanted to fight it in court, he could although it could be long and costly. If Stern had nip this in the bud a long time ago he could have avoided all of this. Because he didn’t and now it is everywhere, the league and the owners have no choice but to do this. All of this brings me to Jim Irsay. What is Roger Goodell going to do in light of the Sterling debacle?

  3. tsboy May 23, 2014 2:52 pm

    wow Dave, we actually agree on something. and yes this is America. one should be able to say what he or she wants. but alas, in today’s America, someone is always offended by something someone else says and wants redress instead of just ignoring it. and while i think it is wrong to remove Sterling as a business owner for something he said that was taped illegally, business wise the NBA has no recourse but to remove him or else put the league in financial jeopardy. all the owners may not want to do it, but at this point, they don’t really have a choice because public opinion is so much against Donald Sterling.
    what Mark Cuban said was totally correct. everybody has their prejudices and you just have to learn to put them aside to get along with everybody. what troubles me is that you can’t say anything negative about other races, especially blacks or hispanics, without being called a racist or bigot. this is not the America i grew up in. all this political correctness is bad for this country.

  4. Critical Reader May 23, 2014 3:59 pm

    By “innocent observer’s” standards, anyone who even thinks about crossing that street, or, like Dave, with a possible elevation of their “guard”, would be racist. The person who crosses the street would ABSOLUTELY BE racist with objective proof being present. Thus, the expectation, I guess, is that EVERYONE (because racism is abhorrent, and the above constitute racism) must not consider crossing the street, elevate their guard or DEFINITELY NOT CROSS THE STREET. We must mindlessly NOT think anything about who approaches us (or, at least, NOT think anything negative about people wearing hoodies), or else we are racist. Note, that we must also NOT CROSS THE STREET when the white bald guy adorned with tattoos is approaching. Here’s the newest question for a defendant in race discrimination lawsuits: “So, sir, how many times have you crossed the street in the past year?”

  5. Critical Reader May 23, 2014 4:01 pm

    You know, I wish NBA owner types would just shut up already. They’re going to end up making all of our lives far more difficult.

  6. tsboy May 23, 2014 10:10 pm

    i want to know why my post was deleted? seriously Dave, you delete my post and keep the one by innocent observer? wow. either you just plain don’t like me or i wasn’t liberal enough in my point of view. i dare you to answer me. just wow.

  7. Dave Reardon May 24, 2014 6:53 am

    Your post wasn’t deleted. It was in moderation, where I had to physically click on it for it to appear here. The other poster’s comments went straight to the blog. I don’t have control over which posts go straight to the blog and which go to moderation first. I think it has something to do with whether you have commented on this blog before or not.

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