Normally, Mark Cuban doesn’t make public comments on social issues.
But the Dallas Mavericks’ owner talked to the Star-Telegram about the violence and protests that have engulfed the United States in the wake of the killing of teenager Michael Brown Jr. in Ferguson, Mo.
“It’s terrible what happened,” Cuban said before Friday’s game against the Toronto Raptors. “I think that a lot of the protests serve a purpose.
“I’m a fan of nonviolent social protests. I don’t like the looting, that’s wrong. But that’s typically the looters and not the protesters.”
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Cuban believes the gap between the haves and the have-nots also play a vital role into what’s happening in Ferguson.
“I think the bigger issue with Ferguson is that it’s more a reflection of the issue of income equality in this country,” Cuban said. “What happened is horrible, but I don’t think it’s about how the police treat you as much as it is when people feel like they’re invisible, they act like they’re invincible.
“When you lose hope, when you don’t have any more aspirations and you lose hope and you feel down, that’s when you feel invisible and that’s when bad things happen.”
Center Tyson Chandler, who is about as socially conscious as any of the Mavs players, agreed with Cuban.
“It’s a tough time for our country right now,” Chandler said. “We’ve come a long ways, but we’ve got a long ways to go.”
Chandler grew up near Fresno, Calif., and was 9 years old when Rodney King was beaten by officers of the Los Angeles Police Department on March 3, 1991. When the footage aired around the world, it outraged many, touched off riots across Los Angeles and raised concerns about the way police officers treat minorities.
Chandler remembers the King incident and is hopeful those in Ferguson, and elsewhere can learn from it.
“I just remember the city [of Los Angeles] getting fed up with racism and not feeling equal,” Chandler said. “At the end of the day it was a statement to be made, but at the time we ruined our own neighborhoods because there was only the inner cities that got vandalized and burned down.
“I get it, we were fed up, but sometimes you’ve got to go about it in a different way.”
Cuban was driving through Los Angeles the night of the riots in 1991.
“I had just moved to LA and lived there a week and was driving down La Cienega, which was right through it,” Cuban said. “That’s the only way I knew how to get from Hollywood to Manhattan Beach where I was staying, and it was the night of the riots and it was unbelievable.”
Felton hopeful to play
With point guard Jameer Nelson listed as day-to-day with back spasms, point guard Raymond Felton said there’s a chance he may play in Saturday’s game in Philadelphia.
Acquired from the New York Knicks on June 25, Felton has yet to play a game this season largely because he suffered a right high ankle sprain in the Oct. 10 preseason game against Oklahoma City.
Just as Felton was possibly ready to play in a game, he aggravated his ankle sprain in practice Tuesday.
Felton said he told himself: “I’m good and I’m good to play, but by me re-tweaking it that day in practice when I had the full practice with the team, just take your time, sit back.”
“At the same time I don’t want nobody getting any ideas that I’m not healthy or anything like that.
“It’s just one of those things where you’ve got a high ankle sprain, it’s nagging, it’s sore, it’s still swollen a little bit.”