Mark Cuban, popular star of the TV show "Shark Tank" and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is speaking out again about bigotry amid fellow NBA team owner Donald Sterling's racist comments controversy, and says that all people are "prejudiced" in a way.
Cuban made his comments in an on-camera interview with Inc. magazine, which hosted the GrowCo Conference in Nashville. He spoke at the event and tweeted a link to the video, which is edited, late on Wednesday.
"I mean, we're all prejudiced in one way or the other," he added. "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."
Black Florida teen Trayvon Martin was shot to death at age 17 while wearing a hoodie on Feb. 26, 2012. The shooter, George Zimmerman, a mixed-race neighborhood watch captain, was found in court to have killed him in self-defense. The case sparked protests and debates over race relations in America.
Cuban had said similar remarks at the conference, according to Inc., which quoted him as saying in front of some 900 people: "I know I'm bigoted in a lot of different ways. 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 ... No one has pure thoughts? but it's about recognizing when you have thoughts that aren't right."
The video of his interview with Inc. has since gone viral, while the Tennessean newspaper published similar quotes it says Cuban made at GrowCo conference, without video. His name trended on Twitter on Thursday, May, 22, and sparked angry comments from several users. Cuban replied to several of them and even got into an argument with ESPN personality Bomani Jones.
"Cuban did punk out with that 'I'm scared of white guys with tattoos' point, too. not the same as a hooded sweatshirt, slugger," Jones said, while Cuban replied: "You're trying to make this about a Hoodie ... It's about whatever makes You feel threatened."
Mark Cuban: "I know that I live in a glass house"
Cuban told Inc. in the taped interview that he himself is "not perfect."
"I know that I live in a glass house and it's not appropriate for me to throw stones," he said. "And so, when I run into bigotry ... in organizations I control, I try to find solutions. I'll work with people, I'll send them to training, I'll send them to sensitivity training, I'll try to give them a chance to improve themselves."
"Because I think ... helping people improve their lives, helping people engage with people they may fear or may not understand and helping people realize that 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," he said. "Because it ... does my company no good, does my customers no good, does society no good if my response to somebody and their racism or bigotry is to say, 'It's not right for you to be here. Go take your attitude somewhere else.'"
Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, made headlines in April after TMZ posted a recording of him making racist remarks during a conversation with a woman. The NBA fined him $2.5 million and Commissioner Adam Silver banned him from the league for life and urged the other owners to force him to sell his team, which he bought in 1981. They are set to vote on the issue at a June 3 hearing.
Sterling told CNN's Anderson Cooper in a TV interview that he is not a racist and that he wanted to apologize, adding: "It's a terrible mistake, and I'll never do it again."
Inc. quoted Cuban as saying at the conference: "I think Adam had to do it. There's a lot at stake for the NBA--it has to be a leader in the culture ... but it's a slippery slope."
He had made similar remarks before Silver's decision about Sterling, according to ESPN, which had quoted him as saying, regarding the possibility of forcing the Clippers owner out of the league: "This is a very slippery slope. What Donald said was wrong. It was abhorrent. There's no place for racism in the NBA, any business I'm associated with, and I don't want to be associated with people who have that position. But at the same time, that's a decision I make. I think you've got to be very, very careful when you start making blanket statements about what people say and think, as opposed to what they do. It's a very, very slippery slope."