Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban held a very honest Q&A session at Inc. Magazine’s GROWCO 2014 conference, a collection of small business owners, entrepreneurs and CEOs, in Nashville on Wednesday. His honesty when answering questions about the Donald Sterling situation has led to some criticism.
When the Sterling audio tape was first released, Cuban called the content of the tape “abhorrent” but also noted that kicking Sterling out of the NBA would be a “slippery slope.” On Wednesday, he admitted that he has his own personal prejudices like anyone else that he is constantly trying to fight.
“I also try not to be a hypocrite. I know I’m prejudiced. I know I’m bigoted in a lot of different ways,” Cuban said, per Mark Burns of The Sporting News. “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 going to walk to 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.”
Cuban has already been labeled a racist by some, but we can’t really fault him for being honest. If you describe a person as a “scary looking dude” based on the way he looks, you’re being prejudiced. Some people don’t have enough self awareness to realize that.
“If I see anybody that looks threatening, and I try not to, but part of me takes into account race and gender and image,” Cuban added. “I’m prejudiced. Other than for safety issues, I try to always catch my prejudices and be very self-aware.”
As for Sterling, Cuban would not reveal which way he is going to vote. He did, however, tip his hand.
“The thing that scares me about this whole thing is I don’t want to be a hypocrite,” he said. “And I think I might have to be. There are no laws against stupid. I learned a long time ago that you can’t talk stupid out of people. You can’t expect stupid to disappear.”
While the comments Sterling made go way beyond avoiding a person on the street because of the way he looks, you can tell Cuban is uneasy with the fact that Sterling made the remarks in the privacy of his own home. Since he didn’t knowingly make them publicly, it’s almost like he has been banned from the league for his private thoughts.
There’s no place for racism in the NBA or anywhere else. Adam Silver didn’t plant a tape recorder on Sterling, he simply reacted the way he had to. Cuban understands that and seems to support it, but he’s obviously concerned with the precedent it sets.
Video via Inc. MagazineGoogle+