Cuban Says Much in His Silence on Sterling
A few hours before Mavs owner Mark Cuban was scheduled to meet the media preceding Saturday’s Game 3 against the Spurs, I visited with him about Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s most recent grotesquely racist statements. Cuban vowed to me he would say very little. “I have plenty of opinions, I’m just not going to share them,” he said.
Why would this man, among the most outspoken people in the sports world, not put Sterling on blast? There is a method to Cuban’s seeming madness.“Sometimes, people think they have to comment on everything in this day and age,” said Cuban to a group of reporters, “and sometimes, when somebody says something, it’s better just to let be what’s said be the headline.” And that’s why Cuban would carefully measure his words regarding the racist comments made by long-time NBA embarrassment Sterling.
Cuban’s relative restraint on the matter of Sterling’s racism – or “alleged racism,” if we desire to show similar care – is stunning to some. His above quote is the answer to the question, Why wouldn’t the “loud-mouth” owner be loud-mouthed in this case? “I have plenty of opinions, I’m just not going to share them,” said Cuban.
Anyone who knows Cuban knows he’s an opponent of Sterling’s views. I can promise you that while he sees this as a “league matter” and not a “Cuban matter,” there are behind-the-scenes conversations that will take place inside the NBA hierarchy. Sterling has taken countless racist stances before and the basketball world looked the other way. Just last summer superstar Chris Paul was a free agent with the right to escape L.A. and chose to stay. Stellar head coach Doc Rivers dumped the Celtics and moved to the Clippers as well, fully aware of the “general” he would serve as a “lieutenant” to. Retired commissioner David Stern is among those who tolerated Sterling with inaction.
New commissioner Adam Silver will feel pressure to react differently … and it is Silver’s call to make publically, not Cuban’s.“There’s no reason that we have to restate the obvious,” said Cuban. “It just turns into headlines more. Some things are better where the comments just stand on their own, and let people come to their own conclusions on it.”
The NBA is currently investigating the comments in the audio obtained by TMZ in which Sterling says it bothers him that his girlfriend posted photos of herself with black people on Instagram. The league already know what its “investigation” will discover. So does Cuban. Sterling is driven by both money and a prehistoric way of thinking and this is no secret. But it’s time to shine a flashlight on the cockroach that is Donald Sterling. There are different ways for different people to do so. Rivers and Paul have theirs. Dirk Nowitzki and Rick Carlisle of the Mavs both spoke Sunday about the high standards of the NBA, their way of decrying Sterling’s disgusting position.
Cuban – boisterous as he so often is – has also won many NBA battles with quiet boardroom negotiations. Cuban’s opinions don’t need to be expressed in screaming headlines…because I will suggest they will be expressed in sensible boardrooms.