By Clarence E. Hill Jr.
Dallas _ Dallas Mavericks owner Marc Cuban wants it clear the NBA would be better without Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
He called him a bad owner and sit his reportedly racist comments released by TMZ over the weekend were abhorrent.
Cuban said he will support anything the NBA does to penalize Sterling and says the stiffest fine and suspension should be in play.
However, Cuban stopped short of saying the league take the Clippers or way for force him to sell team based on his private comments made in his own home.
Cuban called it a slippery slope and would set a bad precedent for everyone.
"What Donald said was wrong. It was abhorrent," Cuban said during a meeting with the media before Game 4 of the first round playoff game between the Mavericks and Spurs at the AmericanAirlinesCenter. "There’s no place for racism in the NBA, any business I’m associated with, and I don’t want to be associated with people who have that position.But at the same time, that’s a decision I make. I think you’ve got to be very, very careful when you start making blanket statements about what people say and think, as opposed to what they do. It’s a very, very slippery slope. If it’s about racism and we’re ready to kick people out of the league, OK? Then what about homophobia? What about somebody who doesn’t like a particular religion. What about somebody who’s anti semetic? What about a xenophobe?
"In this country, people are allowed to be morons," Cuban continued. "They’re allowed to be stupid. They’re allowed to think idiotic thoughts. Within an organization like the NBA, we try to do what’s in the best interest of the league and that’s why we have a commissioner and a constitution and I think Adam will be smart and deal with Donald with the full extent available. But, again, if you’re saying a blanket, ‘Let’s kick him out?’ I don’t want to go that far because it’s not about Donald, it’s not about his position, it’s about his mess _ and what are we going to make a decision on?
Cuban again wanted clear that he believes the NBA would be better off without Sterling. But unlike Rockets owner Leslie Alexander who called for Sterling’s removal from the NBA, Cuban stressed the bigger picture of setting a bad precedent that could potentially affect all Americans and how we live.
"But that has nothing to do with the rules that we have to live by,” Cuban said. “There’s a lot of things I don’t agree with that by letter and rule of law has to happen anyway. When you live in a country of laws, you want to support there are laws. Look, I fought the government, been bullied by the government. Yet I still support a rule of law. There’s a reason why we have those rules and we have a constitution. Again, this is a member-based organization. It has a constitution, we have rules. And within those rules, Adam Silver, the commissioner, will make a determination on what he should do. And I’ll support him on it.
“If it’s in a workplace, then people can take action for him making those comments in the workplace. If anybody who is listening to this thinks you have privacy in this world, you’re wrong. We’re not years away, we’re months away from you walking down the street and facial recognition figures out who you are and voice recording devices listen to what you say. It’s no big deal these days. And it’s going to happen.
“If you want to create a world – and, again, the NBA has a lot of influence in a lot of areas and I certainly don’t want to be somebody who supports a scenario where, oh, you said this – that’s prejudicial in any way, shape or form against some group, so we are going to expel you. And if you think in this digital world with your digital footprint, if you don’t think people are using different forms of technology and software to go through and look at everything you’ve ever tweeted or retweeted or get retweeted or get put on facebook … and profile you to say, you know what? You’re a bigot. And because we’ve determined you’re a bigot based off your profile, then you’re out. It’s scary as hell. So, no. What Donald has done within the confines of the NBA, Adam will deal with that within the constitution of the NBA and I’m all for him taking those steps. But in terms of should we kick him out and go outside of the constitution? Should we start taking steps where we condemn people for what they say in the privacy of their own homes that just happens to be recorded? That’s a slippery slope that I don’t want to get on."
Cuban said he talked his team about Sterling and his position before the game. He said supported them in whatever action they wanted to take.
The Spurs and Mavs decided to wear black socks during the game in a show of solidarity. The Rockets and Trail Blazers wore black socks during their playoff game Sunday night. The Clippers wore black socks during their game Sunday night at Golden State.
“My understanding is that the whole league is doing it,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said before he game while wearing three black wristbands. “The fact that they’re together and doing it to basically say that this is not right, is something I respect,”