Mac Engel

Prepare for Cuban For President run

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban: 'I expect players to stand' for anthem

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he respects the right to civilly protest but expects his players to stand for the anthem.
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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he respects the right to civilly protest but expects his players to stand for the anthem.

Mark Cuban says he would run for president “if he were single,” which would mean that should he win he would join James Buchanan and Grover Cleveland as the only two to ever reach our nation’s highest office unmarried.

Cuban is married, with three kids, and wants to keep it that way. Right now he wants no part of the living hell that comes with running for that office.

The Dallas Mavericks’ season starts Wednesday at home against the Atlanta Hawks, and here is hoping that both the Mavs have a good season, and Cuban reconsiders his position and runs for office as an Independent. Why not try?

He has all of the necessary traits to win: He’s apolitical. He’s famous. He’s rich. He’s run a few successful companies. He’s media savvy. He’s slightly crazy. And he has a hit reality TV show.

Late syndicated political commentator Robert Novak told the Bob Schieffer Symposium at TCU in 2014 that every presidential campaign he had ever covered he noticed there comes a point when a candidate thinks he can become president, and then they are obsessed with the idea of winning.

Cuban isn’t there yet, but after watching Donald Trump win office, he’s considering it. Cuban’s previous rhetoric sounded ish at the idea, whereas now he clearly is thinking about it.

“I just don’t like the way things are going,” Cuban said Monday morning after Mavs practice. “If President Trump tried his best at being the president, OK. If he wasn’t the Campaigner in Chief, if he wasn’t the Twitter Troll, then maybe we’d look at it and think, ‘Maybe he’s not doing a bad job.’ While I might not agree with everything he’s doing, but you troll a crazy head of North Korea? And you think that’s a positive?

“People say to me, ‘Do your job — stay out of all of this.’ If he just did his job, I might disagree with some of his stuff, but at least I wouldn’t be worried about something he tweeted causing somebody to drop a bomb. Talk about, ‘Do your job and stick to sports,’ talk about ‘Do your job’ and we might think he’s a good president.”

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On Monday morning, Cuban was in a good mood and chatty. I wanted to ask him about two things, and his answers indicate we should all prepare for a Cuban for President poster in a few years.

No. 1 Cuban is outspoken on various political issues, and critical of the president. He has also been a supporter of NFL players who have protested during the national anthem.

Have his political positions hurt attendance, or the brand of, the Mavs?

“No, not at all. We had a couple of cancellations, but I would say we had just as many if not more people buy in. All you need to know, if you want to know how important (standing for the national anthem) is to people, just walk through the concourse of a game when the national anthem is playing. The whole place doesn’t stop. People get their hot dogs. I’m not saying nobody does. ... People don’t rush to get to their seats for the national anthem.

“I love this country. We are going to have a video prior to the anthem that is a tribute to the flag. The fact that the American flag has been at every special moment in Mavericks history. We’re going to make a pro-active effort to recognize that and we’re also going to recognize that what it stands for is the right for people to disagree. And to stand up for your beliefs. And this country was built on people disagreeing.

“I don’t think it impacted (us). I don’t think it’s as important as the media makes it sound. Only 15 percent of adults are on Twitter. It’s not like it’s that important to them. The president has 32 million followers; there are a whole of NBA athletes who have more. The bigger picture is most people are more concerned about their lives, their kids, their work, and while they go to sporting events to just to have fun, they are not keeping score before the game starts. When an athlete decides to make a point and use the anthem as an opportunity to do that, that’s their choice.

“My dad was in the Navy, my uncle was in the Air Force, and they made it clear to me when I was growing up, ‘We respect the people we disagree with us. We don’t tell people how to think.’ That’s what makes our flag special. ... There is nothing better than playing the national anthem and allowing people to exercise their first amendment rights. The minute the ball goes up, we play the game.”

No. 2 Do you want to run for the President?

“Yeah. If I was single I would do it. I haven’t decided yet. It’s so tribal right now. And it’s so mean. Why would someone want to put their family through that? On one hand, it’s patriotism. I do think I could do some of the right things. I don’t think I would be a traditional politician. Certainly, I’m not politically correct.

“I think I have solutions where the current administration ... they try. But it’s always about, ‘What has Congress done?’ I don’t think that is the right approach. I think there are absolute solutions. I think I would walk in and try to deliver some (solutions) of those. I am working on a health care plan now, that I am more than happy to give to the administration. If I did do it, it would be because I think I’d have a good solution.

“If I don’t, it’s because I don’t want to put my family through that?

No. 3 So you don’t think there is any way to separate the two?

“No way. Are you kidding me? On social media. A 14-year-old daughter, she goes on social media, the stuff she’s going to see. Would you want to put your kid through that? That’s the problem.”

He says this now. When he vacations in Iowa City at any point in the next 16 months, we’ll know for sure.

Mac Engel: @macengelprof

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