Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban apologized Thursday to Trayvon Martin’s family over his choice of words in a videotaped interview in which he addressed bigotry and prejudice.
Cuban even revealed some of his own prejudices in the interview with Inc. magazine, and said he believes everyone has “prejudices and bigotries” on some level. But after his words — which came with the NBA still dealing with the fallout over racist remarks made by now-banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling — created a stir in social media and other circles, Cuban took to Twitter to offer his apology.
“In hindsight I should have used different examples,” Cuban wrote. “I didn’t consider the Trayvon Martin family, and I apologize to them for that.”
Cuban also said he stands by the substance of the interview.
Martin was the black Florida teen who was shot and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in February 2012. Martin was wearing a hooded sweatshirt — commonly called a “hoodie” — that night, and that particular piece of clothing became a rallying cry for those who demanded justice.
Zimmerman was eventually acquitted.
“We’re all prejudiced in one way or the other,” Cuban said in the Inc. interview. “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.”
When shown that excerpt of the interview Thursday, Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat cringed.
“It’s just a sensitive time,” Bosh said.
Cuban has not revealed how he will vote on June 3, when NBA owners are scheduled to cast ballots on a motion to oust Sterling and force him to sell the Clippers. Cuban has called the comments made by Sterling “abhorrent,” adding that there is “no place for racism in the NBA, any business I’m associated with.”
Cuban has, however, cautioned that the Sterling matter is a “very slippery slope.”
“While we all have our prejudices and bigotries, we have to learn that it’s an issue that we have to control,” Cuban told Inc. “It’s part of my responsibility as an entrepreneur to try to solve it, not just to kick the problem down the road 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.'”
Cuban also told Inc. that he knows he is not perfect, and that “it’s not appropriate for me to throw stones.” The magazine has a 2-minute clip of Cuban speaking about the topics on its web site, along with about an hourlong appearance — with the Mavs owner discussing many matters — at its Growco Conference in Nashville on Wednesday.
“We’re a lot less tolerant of different views and it’s not necessarily easy for everybody to adopt or adapt or evolve,” Cuban said.