Recent comments made by outspoken Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban have challenged sports fans and non-sports fans alike to take a moment to pause and rejoin the actual planet Earth.
In what could easily be construed as a defense of embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, Cuban blatantly trolled society as a whole and came clean about his own prejudices. He went on to say “there’s no law against stupid” and that Sterling is perfectly allowed to say the idiotic things he says. Cuban is completely right that in the United States, you’re allowed to hold prejudices and to speak those prejudices in public; there truly is no law against stupid.
If we are all honest with ourselves — Cuban included — we can admit that these comments were really just crafted to put the spotlight back on the eccentric Mavericks owner. It’s common knowledge that Cuban has a violent allergic reaction to not being discussed. He’ll be a son-of-a-gun if people are going to talk about someone other than him and his madcap antics.
What is completely true is that Cuban has a point and is trolling us for a good reason, aside from more attention being paid to him. He’s forcing us to all take one step back and face facts — that punishing Sterling is to inflict a groupthink morality on one single person. We don’t agree with Sterling but it’s never been a crime to be unpopular. If that was the case, Nickelback would be serving a life sentence.
A person of any race who can honestly claim to be completely free of prejudices is either fictional or a liar. Each one of us holds disgusting beliefs somewhere in the darker recesses of our soul. Maybe you change lanes away from an Asian driver, get nervous when a Muslim gets on your plane or you immediately believe Jameis Winston was a seafood shoplifter based on the fact he’s black. People do this and Cuban just took a cue from Charles Barkley and pointed it out.
Nobody, Cuban included, is arguing the point that Sterling is an obnoxious old man with an acute case of verbal diarrhea. However, it’s the novel concept that he is allowed these idiotic beliefs in our country that Cuban is driving home.
Cuban is a genius for more than knowing not to trade Dirk Nowitzki. He knows that allowing the NBA to punish people for their beliefs is the same slippery slope to which he made reference weeks ago. Cuban is acutely aware that if Sterling is banned and forced to sell his team today, that in five years someone could be forced to sell their team for being an atheist or speaking out against a war. He’s correct in recognizing this situation as a dangerous precedent, and to blatantly and shamelessly troll the entire country is the best way to smack some sense into us all.
Aaron Sorkin once wrote that “America is advanced citizenship” and that if you want free speech you must “acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center-stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.” Cuban knows this and in his own Cuban-esque way is reminding us that situations like this are where civil liberties begin their disappearing act.