Mark Cuban says he is apologizing to the family of the late Trayvon Martin after making public comments in which he stated that he would walk to the other side of the street if he saw a "black kid in a hoodie" late at night.
Cuban, star of the TV show "Shark Tank" and owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team, came under fire on Twitter for his remarks, made to Inc. magazine at its GrowCo Conference in Nashville, after they were posted online late on Wednesday.
Martin, a black teen, was shot to death at age 17 in 2012 by a mixed-race neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman, who spotted him walking at night, wearing a hooded sweatshirt. He was also unarmed. The killing was ruled to have been made in self-defense and sparked national protests and debates about race relations in America.
He had said in an edited video interview posted on Inc.com: "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."
He had made similar remarks at the conference, according to the outlet.
"In hindsight I should have used different examples," Cuban tweeted on Thursday, May 22, following a slew of angry online responses. "I didn't consider the Trayvon Martin family, and I apologize to them for that."
"Beyond apologizing to the Martin family, I stand by the words and substance of the interview," Cuban added. "I think that 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 may 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."
Cuban was also asked at the conference about his opinion about NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's decision to ban Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the league for life due to racist remarks he made in a leaked tape of a conversation with a woman. There is a June 3 hearing during which fellow owners will vote on whether to force him to sell his team. He has maintained he is not a racist and said he made a "terrible mistake."
Cuban said he thinks what Sterling said was "abhorrent" and that Silver "had to do it" but called the whole situation a "very, very slippery slope."