Controversial owner Mark Cuban has found the spotlight once more, wading into the row regarding Donald Sterling.
In a recent interview with Inc. Magazine, Cuban made several remarks regarding prejudice and bigotry, while being questioned about LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, that have caused outrage.
When asked about how to keep bigotry out of the NBA, Cuban had this to say:
“I try to help people who are (stupid), and that’s typically what I try to do when I find it in my organizations. But I also try not to be a hypocrite. I know I’m prejudice, I know I’m bigoted, in a lot of different ways. And I’ve said this before, if I see a black kid in a hoodie at night on the same side of the street, I’m probably gonna walk to the other side of the street. If I see a white guy with a shaved head and lots of tattoos, I’m going back to the other side of the street. If I see anybody who looks threatening the chances are there’s part of me that takes into account race and gender and age. I’m prejudice.”
These comments come just weeks after the Donald Sterling scandal, ensuring that any race related comments will be received particularly sensitively by the basketball community, especially when they’re being made by another owner.
While Cuban goes on to qualify his statement by saying that he tries to “catch his prejudices” and that “you’ve got to realize that when you have those thoughts that they’re wrong”, the damage had already been done
The aspect of Cuban’s comments that has been criticized most heavily concerns the use of the phrase “a black kid in a hoodie”, which was taken as a reference to the shooting of Trayvon Martin. In 2012 Martin, a 17-year old African American, was gunned down by neighbourhood watch guard George Zimmerman, whilst Martin was wearing a hooded sweatshirt.
Cuban later apologized via Twitter for the example he used, stating: “I did not consider the Trayvon Martin family, and I apologize to them for that.”
However, aside from his choice of words Cuban claimed that he “stands by the substance of the interview”.
Cuban has made a name for himself due to his brutally honest and often inflammatory public statements, racking up over $1.5 million dollars in fines in his time as owner of the Dallas Mavericks.