DALLAS (105.3 THE FAN) — Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is under fire Thursday morning for comments made at a conference in Nashville on Wednesday.
Less than a month after the Donald Sterling controversy, Cuban talked about his personal prejudice, even calling himself “bigoted in a lot of different ways”.
In an interview with Inc. at the conference, Cuban revealed some of the personal stereotypes that he battles.
“We’re all prejudice in one way or another,” said Cuban. “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. The list goes on of stereotypes that we all live up to and are fearful of.”
Cuban recognizes that he’s “not perfect”, but says he also tries to not be hypocritical as an entrepreneur.
As the owner/operator of a number of businesses, Cuban says he’s proactive in helping his employees receive the sensitivity training necessary to “improve themselves”.
“While we all have our prejudices and bigotries, we have to learn that it’s an issue that we have to control. It’s part of my responsibility as an entrepreneur to solve it, not just to kick the problem down the road.”
Longtime columnist and ESPN commentator Michael Wilbon joined Shan & RJ on 105.3 The Fan on Thursday to discuss the controversy.
“Mark clearly and categorically condemns bigotry and racism in his comments,” said Wilbon. “It sounds to me as if he’s saying, let’s not always condemn the person who made those remarks. Let’s not just throw that person out of the culture. That person needs to be educated and rehabilitated no matter how bigoted or racist the views.”
While Wilbon doesn’t generally believe that “getting rid of the person” is the correct solution, he was clear that in the case of Donald Sterling, it’s warranted.
“Throw him out. There’s been 30 years of it. He hasn’t interested in being educated or rehabilitated or sensitized to any of this,” said Wilbon.
Wilbon went on to call Cuban’s comments necessary but uncomfortable for many people. But Cuban did err in using one phrase, though likely unintentionally.
In the interview, Cuban used the phrase “black kid in a hoodie”, which reminds many of 17-year-old African American Trayvon Martin.
Even still, Cuban is one of only a few willing to speak out about the issue — regardless of how people interpret his comments.
“The easy way now to prove your not a bigot is not even confront the situation,” said Wilbon. “It would have been easier people on people if Mark hadn’t gone to that imagery — sure. That’s the thing about discussion of race and bigotry in America — people are afraid of it.”
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