SBD/May 23, 2014/Sports in Society

Mark Cuban Apologizes To Trayvon Martin's Family, But Stands By Comments On Race

Cuban's recent comments sparked widespread debate on social media
Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban on Thursday apologized to the family of the late Trayvon Martin "over his choice of words in a videotaped interview in which he addressed bigotry and prejudice," according to Tim Reynolds of the AP. Cuban on his Twitter feed wrote, "In hindsight I should have used different examples. I didn't consider the Trayvon Martin family, and I apologize to them for that." But Cuban also wrote that he "stands by the substance of the interview" (AP, 5/22). Cuban said, "In this day and age, this country has really come a long way putting any type of bigotry behind us regardless of who it towards … and with that progress comes a price. We're a lot more vigilant and we're a lot less tolerant of different views and it's not necessarily easy for everybody to adapt or evolve. We're all prejudice in one way or another." He added, "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 and the list goes on of stereotypes that we all live up to and are fearful of. So in my businesses, try not to be hypocritical. I know that I'm not perfect." Cuban: "I know that I live in a glass house and it's not appropriate for me to throw stones. So when I run into bigotry in organizations I control, I try to find solutions” (INC.com, 5/21).

KEEPING IT HONEST: In L.A., Bill Plaschke writes as it "turns out, regarding race-related views among NBA owners, Donald Sterling may have company." Cuban's honesty is "appalling, and even somewhat Sterling, and one hopes the NBA office was listening" (L.A. TIMES, 5/23). The N.Y. Times’ William Rhoden said, "What Mark Cuban did was put the entire 30 NBA owners under the spotlight, with Donald Sterling" ("CBS This Morning," 5/23). In Dallas, Tim Cowlishaw writes Cuban has "traveled down the 'slippery slope' he mentioned in his first comments on the Sterling tapes last month," which is "a shame." Cowlishaw: "What you learn from what happened Thursday is that keeping your mouth shut is the most acceptable form of communication on all matters of social relevance" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/23). In Houston, Jerome Solomon writes Cuban "took his foot out of the Sterling mess and put it in his mouth. Make that a toe." His "admittance of internal prejudice, while sad and somewhat bothersome, isn't something that deserves censure from the league" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/23). ABC’s Robin Roberts called Cuban’s comments “provocative” (“GMA,” ABC, 5/23).

COMPARE & CONTRAST: FOXSPORTS.com's Clay Travis wrote, "God love Mark Cuban for being an NBA owner who didn't see the ongoing Donald Sterling mushroom cloud and think, 'You know what, maybe I'll avoid talking about race today.'" Cuban "saw all this controversy and thought, 'Now's the perfect time for me to talk about race in America today'" (FOXSPORTS.com, 5/22). ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser said, “This is not to me Donald Sterling on any level. … The whole context of it I am not offended by it." ESPN’s Michael Wilbon added, "People need to tamp down the emotion and listen to what Mark Cuban said. Don't just hear what you want to hear. He rejected the notion of bigotry anywhere in his life" ("PTI," ESPN, 5/22). In DC, Lavanya Ramanathan writes, "Another week, another NBA owner spouting off about race" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/23). CBSSPORTS.com's Ken Berger wrote to "equate Cuban's hypothetical example of how he might behave when confronted with someone whose appearance, for whatever reason, makes him uncomfortable, with Sterling's blatantly racist views about blacks and minorities quite simply does not compute" (CBSSPORTS.com, 5/22). ESPN's Dan Le Batard said, "All I'm hearing there is honesty and introspection." ESPN's Bomani Jones noted what Cuban said "wasn't really that interesting" and is "all benign” ("Highly Questionable," ESPN2, 5/22). In N.Y., Mike Lupica writes when it "comes time to vote Sterling out as an NBA owner, Cuban might just raise his hand and vote to let him stay." What Cuban has "really done is hand Sterling's lawyers a gift" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/23). ESPN's Pablo Torre said, "There is something to be praised here, the honesty, the introspection. That's stuff that we don't get enough in the conversation" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 5/22).
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