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Cuban apologizes to Martin family, stands by other bigotry remarks

By James Herbert | NBA writer

Cuban spoke at Inc.'s GrowCo conference on Wednesday.
Cuban spoke at Inc.'s GrowCo conference on Wednesday (USATSI)

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Update, 6:06 p.m. ET: Mark Cuban apologized to the family of Trayvon Martin, the slain Florida teenager, for using the phrase "black kid in a hoodie" in an interview about race posted on Inc.com.

Cuban also made it clear he stood by the tone of his early comments, which caused a firestorm across the Internet.

Previous post: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has come under fire for comments he made at Inc.'s GrowCo conference in Nashville on Wednesday. In light of the Donald Sterling saga, Cuban talked about prejudice. He said he had to fight against internalizing stereotypes and that "none of us have complete pure thoughts," via the Sporting News:

“I also try not to be a hypocrite. I know I'm prejudiced. I know I'm bigoted in a lot of different ways,” he said. “I've said this before. If I see a black kid in a hoodie at night on the same side of the street, I'm probably going to walk to other side of the street. If I see a white guy with a shaved head and lots of tattoos, I'm going back to the other side of the street. If I see anybody that looks threatening, and I try not to, but part of me takes into account race and gender and image. I'm prejudiced. Other than for safety issues, I try to always catch my prejudices and be very self-aware.”

Cuban later recounted a story from the 1960s when his uncle served as a superintendent in the Washington, D.C., area. He recalled sitting down with his uncle and being told that everyone was equal, and it was never acceptable to treat people differently based on their creed, race, gender or ethnicity. At the same time, though, it did not mean that certain negative thoughts won't appear from time to time.

Bleacher Report ran a column saying it sounded "pretty racist," and Cuban responded on Twitter and asked for an apology. Former San Antonio Spurs forward and current ESPN analyst Bruce Bowen appeared on ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike" on Thursday morning and was critical of Cuban.

The Mavericks owner tackled the subject in an interview with Inc.'s Maria Aspen at the conference:

"In this day and age, this country has really come a long way putting any type of bigotry behind us, regardless of who it's towards -- whether it's the LGBT community, whether it's xenophobia, fear of people from other countries -- we've come a long way. And with that progress comes a price. We're a lot more vigilant in what we … and we're a lot less tolerant of different views. And it's not necessarily easy for everybody to adopt or adapt or evolve. We're all prejudiced in one way or the other. 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. And the list goes on of stereotypes that we all live up to and are fearful of. And so in my businesses, try not to be hypocritical. I know that I'm not perfect. I know that I live in a glass house and it's not appropriate for me to throw stones. And so when I run into bigotry in organizations I control, I try to find solutions. I'll work with people. I'll send them to training, I'll send them to sensitivity training. I'll try to give them a chance to improve themselves. Because I think improving, helping people improve their lives, helping people engage with people they may fear they may not understand and helping people realize that while we all have our prejudices and bigotries, we have to learn that it's an issue that we have to control -- that it's part of my responsibility as an entrepreneur to try to solve it, not just to kick the problem down the road. Because it does my company no good, it does my customers no good, it does society no good if my response to somebody in their racism or bigotry is to say, 'It's not right for you to be here, go take your attitude somewhere else.'”

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