Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says he would support his players sitting out the season as a way to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
Cuban made the statement during a discussion with student journalists on the June 18 edition of weekly show Meet the Press: College Roundtable, saying, "I'm proud of our players for speaking up. I'm proud of them that this topic is this important to them and they're really using their platform for societal good."
During the show, a group of students asked Cuban about the role NBA team owners play in addressing racial inequality and his stance on players sitting out the season to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
One of the students noted that some players have said that the upcoming basketball season could distract from the movement.
"You know, there's 450 NBA players and it's their league. I mean, we're truly a player-driven league," Cuban said. "I'm proud of our players for speaking up. I'm proud of them that this topic is this important to them and they're really using their platform for societal good, so yes."
Cuban said he had not talked to other owners.
"But I have talked to my players and tried to listen to them, more than anything else," he said. "In our league meetings, that's been what’s been encouraged, to listen to our African American minority players, because they have standings. It's their experiences that are educating us all."
Cuban said that it's a process that's not moving fast enough, noting that the majority of ownership is white.
"The reality right now is that it's very difficult for white people to discuss race," he said. "It's very difficult for us to discuss the topic of white privilege. You know when we hear it, we become very defensive. And so, we all have a platform as owners in the NBA, but I think the primary thing that I'm trying to do, and I think others, again not talking to them, but hearing from others, is to listen to our players, and really allow them to take the lead because they have their experiences that are educating us all."
Cuban recalled getting pulled over when he was young and how different it was then versus now.
"You know, it's not just George Floyd, it's been happening again over the last couple years," he said. "When I was a kid growing up … I got pulled over by police all the time because I never owned a car that cost more than $200. And they were all junkers and pulling over a kid with long hair and it happened all the time. I never had to worry about, you know, any sort of violence never crossed my mind. And so those types of thoughts, that type of recognition, really is relatively recent for me."
Meet the Press: College Roundtable is a digital series that brings together college journalism students from across the country for a weekly, virtual panel discussion about issues, their communities, and the future of their education. Episodes run on Thursdays at 9:45 pm on the streaming channel NBC News Now, and then on Friday on NBC News’ YouTube page.