Mavs owner Mark Cuban appeared on TNT’s Inside the NBA Tuesday night.
He didn’t mention the “slippery slope” that he brought up in the days immediately after Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s racists tapes were made public. But he didn't have to. It’s there. And now Sterling’s lawyers are ready to push critics – and maybe even other owners – straight down it.
“I stand by what I said 100 percent,” Cuban told TNT hosts Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley about his recent bigotry-is-everywhere interview. “Except for the hoodie example. I wish I’d used a different example.”
As we predicted, Sterling is preparing to sue the NBA, which has already began the process of forcing the 82-year-old owner to sell his franchise in the wake of his comments. Sterling’s lawsuit will be based on the slippery slope Cuban mentioned in saying that basically we need to be careful before we go prosecuting people for voicing their opinions.
Said the lawsuit against the NBA, “The league is willing to set a standard that an individual can be punished for voicing a negative opinion.”
The lawsuit goes on to detail Orlando Magic owner Richard DeVos, who has long been a public supporter of the National Organization for Marriage while condemning legal unions between same-sex people and being boisterously unsympathetic toward those infected with AIDS/HIV.
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DeVos has never been reprimanded for discrimination against a group, and this is exactly what Cuban warned about. So it’s OK to denounce gays, but not blacks?
Where is that line drawn? And how do you determine punishment for an owner who voices an ugly – albeit legal – opinion of a controversial issue or even a particular segment of the population?
Prepare to slide.
Cuban wouldn’t tell TNT how he’ll vote this week in the Sterling case. He only said he trusted commissioner Adam Silver to follow the NBA constitution. In other words, the Mavs owner will stay as far away as possible from the slope he long ago identified as slippery.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.