Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban condemned racist comments attributed to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, but warned against ejecting Sterling from the league.
While Cuban thinks the NBA would be better without Sterling in it, he thinks that forcing Sterling to sell the team sets a dangerous precedent.
Cuban spoke with the press before Game 4 of the Mavericks versus the San Antonio Spurs Monday, ESPN reports.
“What Donald said was wrong. It was abhorrent. 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,” Cuban said.
“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,” Cuban continued. “It’s a very, very slippery slope. Again, there’s no excuse for his positions. There’s no excuse for what he said. There’s no excuse for anybody to support racism. There’s no place for it in our league, but there’s a very, very, very slippery slope.”
Cuban brought up the league constitution and said that although he will support NBA commissioner Adam Silver makes, he thinks Sterling should just be suspended and heavily fined, in following with the constitution’s rules.
“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,” Cuban explained. “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?”
Other owners like owner of the Houston Rockets Leslie Alexander and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers Dan Gilbert disagree with Cuban’s concerns and are hoping the league forces Sterling out.
“This guy has no place in the family of the NBA,” Alexander said Monday. “Whatever it takes, we have to make sure this kind of event never happens again.”
Gilbert said in a statement, “It is shocking that anyone could hold the kind of offensive and feeble-minded views that are being attributed allegedly to the Clippers owner, Donald Sterling. The diverse staff members of the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise are united in encouraging Commissioner Silver and the NBA to respond with swift and appropriate action consistent with a strong zero tolerance approach to this type of reprehensible behavior.”
Cuban hopes justice will be attained with Sterling and the NBA’s official decision Tuesday, but wants it to be fair.
“Regardless of your background, regardless of the history they have, if we’re taking something somebody said in their home and we’re trying to turn it into something that leads to you being forced to divest property in any way, shape or form, that’s not the United States of America,” he said. “I don’t want to be part of that.”