SBD/Issue 164/Franchises

Cuban Feeling Heat For His Role In Ramping Up Nuggets-Mavs Crowd

Critics Say Cuban's Apology To Martin's
Mother Came One Day Too Late
Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban "couldn't be any more wrong in his actions" regarding an altercation with the mother of Nuggets F Kenyon Martin following Game Three of the teams' Western Conference Semifinals series, and while Cuban apologized to Martin's mother, it "came one day too late," according to ESPN's Jackie MacMullan. Cuban should have apologized "five minutes after he knew what he did was wrong." And while Cuban "had no way of knowing that (his actions) would incite the crowd" during Game Four on Monday to the point that extra security had to be brought in for safety precautions regarding Nuggets' family members, "that's what happened." MacMullan: "I hope the NBA will now step in and take some action here" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 5/12). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, "Mark Cuban is largely responsible for ginning up the crowd. The cameras follow him everywhere. When they see him after a game going wild like he did, I think on some level fans take that as license for them to behave badly" ("PTI," ESPN, 5/12). ESPN's Jim Rome added, "Even though I’m a big Mark Cuban fan ... some of this is on you." Rome: "Your fans take their queue from you and if you’re on the floor bumping photogs and talking noise to an opponent's mom ... you’re green lighting your fans to go knucklehead as well" ("Jim Rome Is Burning," ESPN, 5/12). KDFW-Fox’ Matt Grubs: “To get a full story in the latest chapter of the ‘Adventures of Mark Cuban’ you have to read back a few pages to Game Three on Saturday night” (KDFW-Fox, 5/12).

CUBAN CREATED A "TOXIC ENVIRONMENT": DALLAS MORNING NEWS Assistant Editorial Page Editor Michael Landauer wrote Cuban has "created a toxic environment, and he barely addresses one tiny sliver of his responsibility in doing so." Cuban "should apologize in person, not just on a blog," for his comments toward Martin's mother, and he should "have a face-to-face talk with Kenyon Martin, as he has requested." Cuban needs to let Martin talk and "let him decide if he can accept your apology and move on." But Cuban should not "dictate that to him, and don't spin the event as you apologize for it." Landauer wrote, "I think I'm more disappointed and embarrassed by Cuban with this apology than without it. Part of me wishes [the Mavericks] would have lost [Monday] night so we wouldn't have to see this farce" (DALLASNEWS.com, 5/12). Denver Post columnist Woody Paige said Cuban has "become a caricature of himself. … He is a guy that should be banned from being around the court" ("ESPN First Take," ESPN2, 5/13).

UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT: In Ft. Worth, Gil LeBreton writes, "Let's not diminish Cuban's apology. Martin needs to understand that Cuban takes his blog seriously, as well as his apologies." But he adds, "Was Cuban in the wrong this time? It's hard to defend him, regardless of what was said." Fans "look to the owner, first, to set the standard for permitted behavior." By publicly gesturing to Martin's mother, Cuban "unwittingly gave carte blanche for 20,000 Mavericks crazies Monday night to do the same" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 5/13). ESPN's Jalen Rose said Cuban handled himself "terribly." Rose: "He’s the owner of the team, first off; he’s not a fan. To apologize via a blog for a scenario that happened after Game Three but you don’t apologize until after Game Four is weak. It’s not sincere” (“NBA Fastbreak,” ESPN2, 5/12). TNT's Chris Webber: "It takes a handshake, a look in the eye and after that it’s just over. You have to look a man in the eye" ("Inside The NBA," TNT, 5/12). In Denver, Mike Littwin writes Cuban has "raised bad sportsmanship to an art form." As apologies go, Cuban's "wasn't exactly the way Saint Augustine would have crafted it" (DENVER POST, 5/13). TNT's Charles Barkley: "Mark Cuban is my guy but he was wrong. I wish he would’ve done this yesterday. I wish he would’ve walked up to the mom and (Martin) at the game yesterday. But he apologized (on his blog) and that’s all you can do” ("Magic-Celtics," TNT, 5/12).

DID ALL HE COULD DO: TNT’s Kenny Smith said he talked with Cuban prior to last night’s Magic-Celtics game, and he was “a little upset with comments I had made on Twitter. I said a personal attack deserves a personal response, period, end of story.” Smith: “He said he made several attempts throughout the day and the day before to contact (Martin’s mother). I accepted that, but I said, ‘Mark, I wish you had done it a different way and you would have done it directly to his mom where (it was) visible because it became visible to the world.’ But he said he called the agent, he called Kenyon, he waited for Kenyon to come out to shoot around before the game, he never came out and he wouldn’t talk to him” ("Inside The NBA," TNT, 5/12).

APOLOGY NOT ENOUGH: In Ft. Lauderdale, Michael Cunningham wrote Cuban's apology was "pretty mealy-mouthed as apologies go, but at least it's something." Cunningham: "Someone comes up unprovoked and says something to your momma, nastily pointing their finger at her while insulting you, they deserve an ass kicking. ... Everyone knows a guy like Cuban, whose petulant, punkish attitude suggests he's never really been whupped like he deserves" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 5/12).

Should Fans Also Be Held Accountable
For Increasing A Bad Situation?
FANS DESERVE BLAME AS WELL: Detroit Free Press columnist Drew Sharp said, "When are we going to hold fans accountable for their idiocy in the crowd? People are fingering Cuban, saying that he started everything. But you know what, these are adults in this crowd right now. And the fact they feel that because of the price of a ticket it gives them license to go out and be verbally abusive to fans of other teams -- that's uncalled for" ("Jim Rome Is Burning," ESPN, 5/12). ESPN's Michael Wilbon: "What used to be the trigger for fun is now the trigger for people, particularly when they're liquored up, to just behave like morons” (“PTI,” ESPN, 5/12).

CUBAN NOT ATTENDING GAME 5: Mavericks-Nuggets Game Five is tonight in Denver, and Cuban will not be at the game "because of a prior commitment in Las Vegas." In Denver, Cotton & Dempsey note Cuban was "shown on the big screen at the Pepsi Center during Games 1 and 2 and has made gestures for the fans to boo louder" (DENVER POST, 5/13).

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