I’m not universally opposed to Mark Cuban’s call for major sports leagues to better protect themselves from unsavory types by any means necessary provided he’s willing to submit to the same level of scrutiny among all the billionaire owners he readily aligns himself with in all their corporate dealings.
The outspoken NBA owner recently came out firing on all cylinders when he called on all major pro sports leagues to become more diligent in screening the athletes they employ for character issues and any instances that raise “red flags.”
But in a world where for every Aaron Hernandez there is a Donald Sterling, and for every Art Schlichter there is a Jim Irsay, where should the world of checks and balances ever truly begin, let alone end?
Elitist that he is, Mark Cuban didn’t entirely call on the leagues to completely turn their backs on such profitable prospects, but he came as close as he could have while still earning from their labor, openly advocating for a system that would require anyone deemed questionable by lords such as himself to undergo intense counseling before being able to even think of fully entering his domain.
Now owner of the Mavs for 13 seasons running, Cuban seems to have it all figured out, telling Rolling Stone in an interview he’s convinced NFL players only tend to get into more trouble than their NBA counterparts simply because there are more of them to get into trouble.
“I think it’s difficult to be a warrior on the field and a pussycat off of it,” he added. “But more importantly, I think that all pro sports turn a blind eye to minor leaguers and collegiate athletes with checkered backgrounds. You don’t go from the minors or college to the pros and all of a sudden become a spouse abuser, or any of a number of other serious personal issues. Those traits don’t suddenly appear when you make a pro roster.”
Much of the same can be said of those entering a boardroom or an NBA suite. Mark Cuban needs to understand just because you’re there and not in a uniform doesn’t necessarily make it a testament to your purity when it comes to the question of how you came to arrive.
And that works on both sides. For every Mike Tyson or Rae Carruth there is a Dan Snyder or Art Modell.
Not lost here should also be the very real reality that as owners like Cuban gain even greater control and say in the lives of the men whose labor they make millions from, the all-worldly profit margins stand to grow even greater as they gain greater dominion over them.
With much of that said, Mark Cuban, by and large, has been among the NBA’s most progressive owners, staffing a full-time psychologist on his Mavs’ payroll who regularly verbalizes with each and every player on the team’s roster.
“We need to demand that colleges and minor leagues and high schools and summer travel programs identify and report issues,” said Cuban. “By not reporting abuse or other issues with their players, they could be costing them a shot at the pros. It’s our fault for not being more proactive. It’s college’s fault for not red-flagging these kids and getting them help.”
But accountability is accountability. Or at least it should be. And it shouldn’t start nor end with those just on the playing field.
Mark Cuban may be in the right ballpark, but right now he’s just playing in shallow confines.