Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban came under fire on Thursday for honestly admitting that he would cross the street late at night if he saw a “black kid in a hoodie” or “a white guy with a shaved head and a lot of tattoos.” Some of Cuban’s critics had not even seen video of his full remarks before they blasted him.
“I also try not to be a hypocrite. I know I’m prejudiced. I know I’m bigoted in a lot of different ways,” he said on Wednesday, according to the Sporting News, at Inc’s GrowCo. Conference in Nashville. “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. If I see anybody that looks threatening, and I try not to, but part of me takes into account race and gender and image. I’m prejudiced. Other than for safety issues, I try to always catch my prejudices and be very self-aware.”
Cuban also said that when he runs into bigotry in his companies, he tries to “find solutions… work with people,” send them to training, and give them a chance to improve themselves. He mentioned that “none of us have complete pure thoughts” and mentioned people he encountered that were prejudiced against foreigners or the LGBT community.
“I know that I’m not perfect,” he said. “While we all have our prejudices and bigotries, we have to learn that it’s an issue that we have to control, that it’s part of my responsibility as an entrepreneur to try to solve it, not just to kick the problem down the road.”
Cuban said “it does… my company no good… it does my customers no good, it does society no good if my response” to bigotry or racism is, “it’s not right for you to be here, go take your attitude somewhere else.”
Cuban said wants to give employees at his organizations that may be overtly prejudiced a chance to improve because, “I live in a glass house so it’s not appropriate for me to throw stones.”
He emphasized that Americans have to “realize that while we all have our prejudics and bigotries, we have to learn that it’s an issue that we have to control.”
The NBA has set a June 3 meeting to potentially terminate Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s ownership in light of his racist remarks. In reference to Sterling, Cuban also added, according to the Sporting News, that “there are no laws against stupid” and he “learned a long time ago that you can’t talk stupid out of people. You can’t expect stupid to disappear.” He said he knew how he would vote but did not want to be a hypocrite.
“The thing that scares me about this whole thing is I don’t want to be a hypocrite,” Cuban said. “And I think I might have to be.”
Critics, though, like ESPN contributor Bomani Jones, blasted Cuban while conceding that he had not even seen the full video of Cuban’s remarks. Others immediately criticized Cuban’s “hoodie” comments because they said the hoodie is associated with the Trayvon Martin case.
Cuban asserted that his remarks were “damn well” not about “a Hoodie” and that his point was that “before we can help others deal w racism we have to be honest about ourselves.”
. @bomani_jones you’re trying to make this about a Hoodie. You know damn well its not. It’s about whatever makes You feel threatened