PLUS, CUBAN: “We all have a platform as owners in the NBA … listen to our players, allow them to take the lead; they have experiences that are educating us all”
On This Episode: Chuck Todd is joined by students from the University of California, Berkeley, Syracuse University and The George Washington University
On this week of Meet the Press: College Roundtable, entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told the student journalists that he would support his players sitting out this season as a way to support the Black Lives Matter movement 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.”
This week, Chuck Todd is joined by Chan’Cellore Makanjuola, an incoming second-year graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and co-chair of the NABJ chapter at UC Berkeley; Ghael Fobes, a rising junior at Syracuse University and host of The Daily Orange’s weekly podcast; and Parker Jensen, a rising senior at The George Washington University and the executive producer and host of Unstoppable, GW-TV’s sports broadcast.
During the discussion, the group of students asked Cuban about the role NBA team owners play in addressing racial inequality, his stance on players sitting out the season to support the Black Lives Matter movement, and the role race and privilege have played in his own personal success.
KEY DISCUSSION HIGHLIGHTS:
Incoming second-year graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley Chan’Cellore Makanjuola asks Mark Cuban if he would support his players sitting out this season in support of Black Lives Matter
CHAN’CELLORE MAKANJUOLA: “Training for the NBA season restart begins in about two weeks, and there’s been a disagreement among players on the best way to address the current protest on racial injustice. With some players like LeBron James kind of wanting to use basketball as a way to speak out about the platform or about social injustice, but also Kyrie Irving saying that the upcoming basketball season could distract from the movement. So my question is, as an owner of an NBA team, would you support your players if they choose to sit out this season as a way to support the Black Lives Matter movement?”
MARK CUBAN: “Yes. You know, there’s 450 NBA players and it’s their league. I mean, we’re truly a player-driven league. And so yes, you know 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.”
The George Washington University rising senior Parker Jensen asks Mark Cuban about his role as an NBA team owner in addressing racial inequality and bringing about change
PARKER JENSEN: “What do you think the NBA should do, and specifically owners should do, in order to address these social concerns and actually implement change? We see a lot of players have talked about it by coming out and talking about the social issues, but the owners necessarily haven’t come out and said much. And I’m curious, have you been talking to other owners about what the next steps are to listen to the players voices?”
MARK CUBAN: “No, I have not talked to any owners about this at all honestly. But I have talked to my players and tried to listen to them, more than anything else. And I know 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. You know it’s a process that’s not moving fast enough and, you know, as you mentioned, the majority of ownership is white, and it’s incumbent upon us to have the tough conversations. You know, the reality right now, Parker, is that it’s very difficult for white people to discuss race. 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.”
Rising junior at Syracuse University Ghael Fobes asks Mark Cuban about the role privilege and race have played in his personal success; says realizing privilege has been an “ongoing process”
GHAEL FOBES: “You spoke about white people being hesitant to have a conversation surrounding race. I’m curious, at what point in your life did it dawn on you that privilege played a role in your success?”
MARK CUBAN: “It’s been an ongoing process. I can honestly say three, four years ago, I would have looked at this completely differently, but over the last two years is probably when it’s really resonated with me that my experience is different. You know, it’s not just George Floyd, it’s been happening again over the last couple years. 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.”
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MEET THE PRESS: COLLEGE ROUNDTABLE
Meet the Press: College Roundtable brings together the next generation of journalists for a weekly virtual panel discussion diving into the issues impacting them, their communities and the future of their education. Each week, alongside Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd, a group of college journalism students from across the country will share their insight and analysis and showcase their interview skills posing questions to key decision makers on the topics that matter the most to them.