OK, he could have chosen his words more carefully. The hoodie crack was unfortunate. But shouldn't we all be praising Mark Cuban instead of blasting him for speaking honestly on the dicey topic of prejudice?
Prejudice festers in the dark and the quiet. The best antiseptics are still conversation and light.
The billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team and a veteran loudmouth, Cuban caused an uproar by telling an interviewer: "I know I'm prejudiced, and I know I'm bigoted in a lot of different ways. 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 who has tattoos all over his face, white guy, bald head, tattoos everywhere, I'm walking back to the other side of the street."
Now, everyone in sports is still on high Donald Sterling alert. Cuban has to vote June 6 on his fellow NBA owner's fate. But Cuban's no Sterling. He's no borderline-senile antebellum lug. He's honestly grappling like many people are -- and brave enough to do it openly.
Of course, we all have prejudices. They alone are not a mortal sin. What matters more is how we deal with them. A frank admission is rarely a bad place to start.
1. Just picky
2. Just harshly judgmental
3. Just dumb
4. Just can't keep my mouth shut
5. Just never met anyone I like as much as me
ASKED AND UNANSWERED: Happy to hear that NOAA's predicting a "slower than usual" Atlantic hurricane season -- but wait: Didn't last year's "busy season" fail to blow in? . . . Will the dead people mind? PSEG Long Island approves St. John's Annex, a cemetery in West Babylon, for a 9-megawatt solar-energy installation and 33,000 photovoltaic panels . . . Can Shawn Heilbron, Stony Brook U's new athletic director, turn LI into "Seawolves Country"? Will the Isles' departure create a sports-fan rooting vacuum? . . . Just in time for the summer cocktail season, the Nassau DWI unit is back. Is the timing just a coincidence?
THE NEWS IN SONG: The only thing I meant to say is I'm a Skynyrd fan: "Accidental Racist" by Brad Paisley and LL Cool J: tinyurl.com/eraceit
LONG ISLANDER OF THE WEEK: CHRISTOPHER LONG
Carnegie Hall was good enough for Frank Sinatra, Jay Z and the Rolling Stones. Why not the FREE Players too? That's the special-needs theater troupe at Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, the Long Island-based autism-and-more group. As chief operating officer, Chris Long and his team were instrumental last year in getting the FREE Drumline onto the main stage at Disney World. And here on Wednesday night were the theater kids and adults at the Best Buddies Benefit Concert, singing and dancing and giving their everything on the highest-profile stage in New York. "We have some amazing talent here," Long said. "Shouldn't we show it off?"
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