Lupica: Mark Cuban is the gift Donald Sterling's lawyers needed after his prejudicial comments on race
This is only a part of what Mark Cuban said at a convention in Nashville hosted by Inc. magazine, but it is the real money quote, from another rich, white guy who owns an NBA franchise at the same time Donald Sterling does:
“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, I try not to be hypocritical. I know that I’m not perfect. I know that I live in a glass house and it’s not appropriate for me to throw stones.”
So, at least we know how Cuban, another owner who doesn’t know when to shut up, drops those hard-to-lose pounds these days, constantly crisscrossing streets to stay away from the bogeyman. But he does something else here as he tries way too hard to sound provocative and high-minded.
Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, provides a backdoor defense of the things Sterling said to his visor-girl pal V. Stiviano, and makes you wonder if when it comes time to vote Sterling out as an NBA owner, Cuban might just raise his hand and vote to let him stay.
There is suddenly this rush to praise Cuban for his candor, as if he has broken new ground here talking about his own prejudices; as if he is somehow starting a new conversation about race in America. But what he has really done is hand Sterling’s lawyers a gift, if it is true that Sterling plans to live out his days fighting the NBA and its sanctions against him.
Because Sterling’s lawyers will almost certainly ask why Mark Cuban can say what he says about race, openly, in a big hall full of people, without being punished at all, while poor Donald Sterling gets told to sell his team by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver?
The lawyers will ask: How come Cuban gets away with talking about being scared off by hoodies in a time in America when Trayvon Martin ended up dead because of George Zimmerman’s stupid, preconceived notions about blacks in hoodies, and Sterling gets a different kind of death penalty from his league?
Now, Cuban apologizes for the Trayvon Martin reference on Twitter, saying, “In hindsight I should have used different examples. I didn’t consider the Trayvon Martin family, and I apologize to them for that.” Then he says he stands by the substance of his interview, as if we should carry this blowhard around the room for that.
It’s one thing to ask fair questions about what other high crimes might possibly cost sports owners their teams in the future. It is quite another for somebody as smart as Cuban to voluntarily go sliding down that slope, ass-over-tea-kettle, himself.
“There’s no law against stupid,” Cuban says in Nashville, and if you don’t think so, boy, he sure proved it.
But then this is a guy who is constantly thinking about going after his own league with tanks because he doesn’t like the referees.
You may want to still believe that Sterling is a victim here, as if his privacy was violated by the visor woman, when all that was really violated with a silly, horny, old man was trust. You may also think his due-process rights are being violated at the same time, in a private club run by rich guys. Most people, however, think that if you think the way Sterling does in a business that could not exist without the skills of mostly African-American players, you deserve to get a safe dropped on you.
Of course, this is a historic precedent that Silver is trying to set. And all those who own teams are wondering if Silver might get something bad on them someday, and then come for their teams. It is why Silver might not get the unanimous vote he is seeking when his owners vote Sterling out of the club. Maybe Cuban is setting himself up already to be a free-speech hero if he doesn’t run with the crowd.
Somehow, he manages to get everybody talking about him instead of Donald Sterling, no small feat even for Cuban, who never seems to run out of saliva.
Mark Cuban says what he says about crossing the street in fear to get away from a black kid in a hoodie. People will probably feel the same way the next time they see a billionaire white guy in a T-shirt heading straight for them.
In : #EssexCounty
Tags: mike lupica lupica: mark cuban is the gift donald sterling's lawyers needed after his prejudicial comments on race
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