Outspoken Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban fended off social media criticism on Thursday for his “bigoted” response when asked at a business conference to address the controversy over banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
Overcoming bigotry requires acknowledging internal prejudices, Cuban said in a video-recorded interview shown on Wednesday at the GrowCo convention hosted by Inc magazine.
“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,” he said in the interview that was posted on the Internet.
Critics said his “hoodie” reference recalled the 2012 shooting of unarmed, black Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, who was wearing a hooded sweatshirt when he was fatally wounded in a struggle with a man who said he feared for his life.
Cuban defended his views on Twitter, saying that his quotes were not meant to advocate racism.
“The point was that before we can help others deal w racism we have to be honest about ourselves,” Cuban wrote in a tweet.
Fellow NBA owner Sterling was banned for life from the sport and fined $2.5 million after a recording of him surfaced where he made comments about race that included telling his girlfriend not to bring black people to his team’s games.