Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, known for his frankness, tried to commence a nuanced conversation about race in the wake of the Donald Sterling scandal. Now Cuban finds himself being accused of racism.
Cuban voiced his feelings on race during a business conference in Nashville hosted by Inc. magazine.
“I know I’m prejudiced, and I know I’m bigoted in a lot of different ways,” said the billionaire, who’s also a star of the show “Shark Tank.” “If I see a Black kid in a hoodie on my side of the street, I’ll move to the other side of the street. If I see a white guy with a shaved head and tattoos (on the side he now is on), I’ll move back to the other side of the street. None of us have pure thoughts; we all live in glass houses.”
Cuban said when he runs into bigotry in his own companies, he tries to work on the bigot rather then firing them.
“I work with people or I send them to training, to sensitivity training. I’ll try to give them a chance to improve themselves,” he said. “I think helping people improve their lives, helping them engage with people they may not understand, helping people realize that while we all have our prejudices and bigotries, it’s something we have to control. It’s a part of my responsibility as an entrepreneur to try to solve it, not just to kick the problem down the road. It does my company no good, it does my customers no good, it does society no good if my response to somebody and their bigotry is to say it’s not right for you to be here, go take your attitude somewhere else.”
When there was a loud outcry in the media to Cuban’s comments about Black teens in hoodies, Cuban responded by saying he had picked a bad example in light of Trayvon Martin’s 2012 murder. He went on Twitter to apologize to Trayvon’s family, but he didn’t back off from the rest of his comments.
When the racist comments of Clippers owner Donald Sterling surfaced, Cuban called them “abhorrent” and “obviously racist,” but he initially opposed calls to ban Sterling from the NBA. He said it would be a “very slippery slope” if the league forced an owner to sell the team.
Asked about where he will come down on the Sterling case when he has to vote on June 3, Cuban said he knows how he will vote but isn’t ready to comment on it.
“You don’t; there’s no law against stupid,” Cuban said. “I’m the one guy who says don’t force the stupid people to be quiet. I want to know who the morons are.”