Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban found himself at the center of a social media beat-down Thursday after telling an interviewer at a conference a day earlier, “If I see a black kid in a hoodie on my side of the street, I’ll move to the other side of the street.”
Later Thursday, Cuban issued an apology to Trayvon Martin’s family on Twitter.
“In hindsight I should have used different examples,” Cuban wrote. “I didn’t consider the Trayvon Martin family, and I apologize to them for that.”
He added that he stood by the substance of his interview.
In February 2012 in Sanford, Fla., Trayvon Martin was wearing a hoodie when he was fatally shot while walking home from a store. Then-neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman had called 911 to report Martin’s presence and approached the teen. Zimmerman would later shoot and kill Martin during a confrontation. He was acquitted of charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter. The hoodie became a national symbol of protest against racial profiling.
In response to the shooting, Miami Heat players wore hoodies in a protest photo that went viral.
Cuban’s interview Wednesday took place at a GrowCo conference, a gathering in Nashville, Tenn., of start-up owners and successful entrepreneurs. The Shark Tank cast member was asked about a number of topics, but when the conversation turned to LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who has been embroiled in controversy over remarks widely interpreted as racist, Cuban acknowledged some of his own prejudices.
“We’re all prejudiced in one way or the other,” Cuban said. “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.”
The Associated Press reported that Miami Heat player Chris Bosh cringed when he was shown the controversial portion of Cuban’s Wednesday interview.