Mavericks owner Mark Cuban conducted an interview at a business conference in Nashville this week. In the interview, he talked about his own prejudices and thoughts on bigotry and racism. He also shared his thoughts on the upcoming vote by the owners to determine whether to move forward with banning Donald Sterling from the league.
Via Inc. Magazine, Cuban was his usual candid self when asked about his own battles with racism, which he admits he’s struggled internally to reconcile:
That’s an internal battle as well, he acknowledges: “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. 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,” he says.
“I know that I’m not perfect,” he adds. “While we all 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, not just to kick the problem down the road.
Cuban was also one of the few owners who spoke with caution last month about banning Sterling from the league for his remarks, when he called it a “slippery slope” and said there are no laws against stupid.
The owners will vote forcing the termination of Sterling’s as the Clippers’ owner on June 3, and Cuban admits he may have to vote with the rest of the owners despite his personal reservations about the issue:
“The thing that scares me about this whole thing is I don’t want to be a hypocrite,” Cuban said. “And I think I might have to be.”
These comments — especially the ones regarding his own bigotry — are both honest and controversial, which is exactly like Cuban himself. The Dallas owner often comes off as emotional, and he’ll often appear to speak candidly without thinking through what he’s saying.
Except, when you parse through his thoughts and quotes, you realize this is also someone who puts a lot of thought into everything before he talks about it with the public. If anything, it’s how much he shares of his own internal thought processes which gets him in trouble.
Stereotypes and people’s private thoughts about different races are a tricky subject to broach. As much as all of us would like to take the moral high ground on these things, we all have our own prejudices. Some are harmless, some more extreme.
Cuban is trying to communicate these personal issues to us and acknowledges he wants to continue to educate himself and combat his own internal bigotry. The use of a specific example like avoiding certain races by crossing to the other side of the street is just his — albeit tactless — way of illustrating the point.
There’s a message he’s trying to get across: to not look at everything as right and wrong but to really explore the grey areas which represent the majority of our interactions with one another. He’s trying to be honest with himself and how he can improve as a person. These are all valid points, but it’s the delivery and Cuban’s choice of words that will surely land him in one more controversy.
What do you think?
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