THE SPORTS DOCTOR- So's your mom: Mavericks' Cuban takes the low road
Before I get started, I must confess something. I almost wrote this column about Mark Cuban.
I know, I know. Do we really need another column about Cuban's big mouth and which brand of soap would be best for washing it out? Who among us doesn't know that Cuban's $2.3 billion isn't enough to buy him a homegrown tomato or a modicum of good manners? Frankly, after nine years of Dallas Mavericks' ownership, Cuban doesn't merit the time of day, much less my weekly column inches. But still, I was tempted.
Every week I turn the other cheek to bad behavior. When a struck-out batter hurls the mother of all curses directly into a camera, I look away. When a former middleweight champion repeatedly punches his opponent in the back of the head, I don't fuss much. When local television fails to report UVA's 19-8 win over Johns Hopkins in the NCAA men's lacrosse quarterfinals, not to mention that the game was the worst playoff loss in Hopkins' history, I keep my protest to myself.
But when Mark Cuban insulted Lydia Moore the night before Mother's Day, it stuck with me. This week, I'd planned to write about an umpire's double standard or how the World Series will start before 8pm this year, but my mind kept returning to Dallas, where, after the Mavericks lost to Denver, a fan hollered that the Nuggets' players were "thugs."
"That includes your son," Cuban has admitted saying to Ms. Moore, mother of Kenyon Martin, a forward for Denver.
Maybe Mark Cuban doesn't have a momma. Perhaps, like Athena, he sprang full-grown from Zeus' forehead to wreak havoc on earth. (It would certainly explain his god-complex.) If Cuban does have a momma, maybe she never stood up for him when he was a boy. Maybe she didn't love him enough, or maybe she rewarded him for sassing her. Maybe Mark Cuban's momma experience is limited to women with dubious claim to the title.
Then I remembered he has a wife who and two daughters. Does she send the girls to insult class everyday? Does Mrs. Cuban groom her children to be targets for neighborhood bullies? Are the Cuban girls continually subjected to criticism and humiliation? As a matter of fact, the opposite is true. According to a 2008 article in Dallas Child, the Cubans do all they can to shield their daughters from scrutiny and disparagement. Not only that, but, "We raise them to be good kids ... instill[ing] positive behavior in them at all times," Tiffany Cuban says.
Considering his girls attend quite a number of home games, Cuban's idea of instilling positive behavior must not include leading by example. Luckily, elder daughter Alexis is too young to remember her father's 2005-2006 booing campaign against former Maverick Michael Finley, and younger daughter Alyssa can't understand why Daddy gets ejected from games and coughs up millions of dollars. To be fair, they probably don't even know what a thug is.
Taking their cue from their fearless leader, in a subsequent game of the Dallas/Denver series, Mavericks' fans took up where Cuban left off, pouring beer on Kenyon's mother and screaming obscenities at his girlfriend, according to the Denver Post. The abuse was so brutal that Martin "felt compelled to yell into the crowd in defense of his mom during a break in the second quarter" (Denver Post).
What was Cuban's reaction to the mess he'd started? On his blog, he wrote, "No one takes more abuse...on the road than I do...all arenas need to do a better job of protection for visiting team fans.... So at this point I would like to apologize to you and your mom, Kmart, for my comment. Hopefully you will accept the apology and we can move on."
It's been a couple of weeks since Mother's Day, but even Bobby Scales' Cinderella story with the Cubs couldn't get Cuban's criminally incendiary behavior out of my head. Even though Cuban himself urged everyone to "move on," I found it more than difficult, I found it insulting to even be asked. I reckon that's why I almost wrote this column about Mark Cuban. Almost.