DALLAS (Reuters) - Mark Cuban, the outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, on Thursday defended comments he made about race and bigotry when asked at a business conference to address the controversy over banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
Cuban has come under fire on social media for his statements in a pre-recorded interview shown on Wednesday at the GrowCo convention hosted by Inc magazine. (Video: r.reuters.com/keq59v)
“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 offered contrition for the comment but added he stood by his words and the substance of the interview.
“In hindsight I should have used different examples. I didn’t consider the Trayvon Martin family, and I apologize to them for that,” he wrote on Twitter.
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.
Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Gunna Dickson and Lisa Shumaker