When Mark Cuban learned about Josh Howard's latest self-inflicted controversy, he threw down the hammer! Or something like that. (As in, "not like that at all.") From the Dallas Morning News:
"That said, we will be going through some advanced communication-skill sessions together this training camp," Cuban said Tuesday. "I have explained to him that cellphone cameras are not your friend and that what you think you said on camera is never what people will hear when it shows up on YouTube or TV.
"There is only one universal response that works: 'Both teams played hard.''
I won't demonize Howard for his glib disrespect of national anthem. (To be honest, I'm more offended when patriotism is enforced at the expense of people's rights.) So in that respect, I'm happy Cuban didn't overreact. On the other hand, I'm also annoyed at Cuban's response. Is a lack of media training really the problem? I don't believe it, and I doubt Cuban does either. Howard has been in the league too long not to understand the perils of fame or know the evils of the camera phone.
If I had to guess, I'd say Howard's "problem" is that he simply doesn't care about courting public approval. This isn't new: he didn't backtrack when asked about his use of marijuana, even though almost every other athlete would have bit his tongue to avoid controversy. I don't share Howard's attitudes toward the anthem, but when he finally addresses the video to the media, I'd much rather hear him explain what he actually believes than simply read a prepared apology handed to him by the Mavs' PR staff.