Dallas Mavericks coach Mark Cuban wants a little privacy. Is he entitled?
May 22, 2002 10:22 AM   Subscribe

Dallas Mavericks coach Mark Cuban wants a little privacy. Is he entitled? As a general rule, I don't like Mark Cuban. Prior to reading this article (from Dallas Online), which fark.com described as "Transcript of Mark Cuban heated call," I expected to groan at more of his braying and obnoxious behavior. But in large part, I can't deny that Cuban may have a point in asking a reporter not to publish information on Cuban's relationship with his fiancee. Much of what he said makes sense, or at very least raises interesting questions about the rights of the press and a celebrity-hungry public over those of the public figure (and his friends and family). Who's right here, and who's wrong? (via fark.com, obv)
posted by Sinner (18 comments total)
On this one his behavior seemed a bit obnoxious, however I can understand that this is probably something that he deals with everyday which tends to make anyone a bit heated after time. Personally I kinda like the guy he's pretty straight up about his opinions (outspoken could also be said).

However I have to say this, he's just an owner he's not a star in his own right necessarily. He chooses to be in the limelight, that's a decision he's made and one he's going to have to learn to deal with.
posted by bitdamaged at 10:26 AM on May 22, 2002

mark cuban isn't the coach; he's the owner.
posted by moz at 10:29 AM on May 22, 2002

It's wrong for the guy to threaten to use his money and influence to shut down a magazine for covering his fiance. Since the magazine was only writing about what's already in the public record about her, he wasn't even accomplishing anything with his threats. I'm glad that his ham-handed tactics have caused him to receive international coverage. As a former Dallasite I love what he has done with the Mavericks, but he needs to watch Citizen Kane before trying to be the 21st century's version of William Randolph Hearst.
posted by rcade at 10:30 AM on May 22, 2002

First off, moz, you're absolutely right he's the owner, not the coach. I must have re-read that post six times for spelling and grammar, but somehow neglected to fact-check it.

Anyway, my expanded thoughts here are that something about the journalist's - Tim Rogers's - response to Cuban seemed so knee-jerk to me. As if by virtue of Cuban's fame, his fiancee is asking for it.

"CUBAN: Because we make it clear to her friends: you have to be very careful. That's why we hear back. I don't want to be in a situation where I have to have security around her or around me all the time.

"ROGERS: Well, hey, it must be awful being a rich celebrity,"

Then again, Rogers made a solid point here:

"ROGERS: So, Mark, if I'm a kidnapper and I'm going to go through that kind of, you know, foolishness, I'm smart enough to track down her name and know what's going on. I mean, all I gotta do is watch the end of the Timberwolves game when you run up and kiss a woman. And I know that that's your fiancée."

And Cuban doesn't help his case by threatening "to come and slice your f---ing nuts off." But I have to agree with him that, "his isn't, you know, the beginnings of Enron and someone's threatening you not to report it. This is personal privacy and security that's not going to make a damn bit of difference in anybody else's life, isn't going to sell more magazines for you, isn't going to do anything but create a major headache for you and the magazine. And potentially a catastrophic scenario for myself."
posted by Sinner at 10:38 AM on May 22, 2002

How can you not like a billionare who worked at a Dairy Queen for a day to prove a point, made more than half his employees millionares when he sold his company, and turned the Dallas Mavs into a competitive team? This Time article had some good background.
posted by euphorb at 11:43 AM on May 22, 2002

I listened to the audio, which reads a little different than the text, and I'd have to support Cuban on this one. I think he has a valid concern and goes out of his way to offer his support to help the reporter out. The news piece, like mentioned, was particularly insignificant, with the potential damage far outweighing any real benefit from having the story printed. Furthermore, Cuban did not simply attack the reporter and say "Fuck you, don't print this, or else;" rather, he firmly stated his concern, offered alternative ways to help the reporter and magazine out, and solidified it with threats after the reporter sounded like a pompous asshole who was creaming himself because he knew the conversation had been recorded.
posted by Hankins at 11:58 AM on May 22, 2002

Hankins, which part of that excuses the threats of violence?
posted by NortonDC at 12:08 PM on May 22, 2002

How can you not like a billionare who worked at a Dairy Queen for a day to prove a point

And wore a shirt with the name tag "Tony" on it! How much more can you ask for?
posted by nath at 12:23 PM on May 22, 2002


While it would be silly to pretend he didn't make the threats of violence to which you alluded, from the context, they didn't really seem genuine so much as the insincere byproducts of sheer exasperation. Quite frankly, the reporter himself didn't really seem too concerned with them as their conversation remained relatively civil afterwards.
posted by Sinner at 12:25 PM on May 22, 2002

Sinner: Speaking as a former reporter, I don't think he had a choice but remain civil after Cuban repeatedly threatened him. Reporters get cussed out all the time. Responding in kind is a good way to get in trouble with your editor or publisher.
posted by rcade at 1:07 PM on May 22, 2002

the attacks are taken outta context...

he's not threatening bodily harm, he's threatening D magazine's bottom line...

and if D magazine thinks mark is gonna back down, they are wrong..

so very wrong.

like he says, we'll see next month if dmag is still around.

also, mark and this guy were 'friends' (sorta i guess, as much of a friend as you can be to mark), and mark even agrees to an interview or something as long as it doesn't involve his fiance...
posted by PugAchev at 1:23 PM on May 22, 2002

rcade, I'm a sometime-journalist myself (freelance). I can't relate to having been threatened by an interview subject, but I can say that on my reading of the text, the reporter didn't seem to respond in the manner one would anticipate from someone anticipating real bodily harm. I'm not suggesting he should or would have threatened Cuban back - as your note seems to suggest I am - but rather that the journalist seemed to continue on almost jovially (beyond just civilly). He didn't seem to take the threats seriously (the physical ones at least) so it's hard for me to do so either.
posted by Sinner at 1:35 PM on May 22, 2002

Whether Cuban threatened him or was merely obnoxious as hell, all I'm saying is that reporters are accustomed to being on the receiving end of abuse. My take on Rodgers' response is that he wanted something out of Cuban (some other exclusive as a trade for the fiance item), so he was willing to overlook Cuban's alpha male BS.
posted by rcade at 2:23 PM on May 22, 2002

I promise to respect Cuban's privacy if he promises to never dance like he just scored a basket at a Mav's game. Seriously, I like the team but the media whoring of the owner puts me off.

[BTW Cuban also had a role in a cheesy low budget soft core porn film where he plays a tough guy with a baseball bat. I caught it on TV late at night but I can't recall the name but it was bad. Really really bad. Even for soft core porn. ]
posted by srboisvert at 3:26 PM on May 22, 2002

Wow, never thought I'd admit this in public, but I adore Mark. I worked very closely with him in the past. When Mark was in charge of Audionet/Broadcast, working there was the coolest job ever. (It sucked once it became Yahoo...and corporate shills took over.) He's a big ol freak when he wants to be, but he's a damn fine human who does an awful lot for his workers, his friends, his community and everyone I've ever seen him touch. He's never afraid to admit when he's wrong...and he's been wrong a lot. :)

He's headstrong, but he's golden...Mark makes darn sure that things work. He's a good man. A bit of a temperamental nut sometimes, but a good person. That he's found a girl who's willing to deal with the tempest that is Cuban is great.

But, being in love with someone doesn't justify the media climbing on top of her. Tim is totally out of line here. You don't see the Perot women, you don't see the Cheney kids, you don't see the Murdoch wives and daughters.

The press has no right to violate her privacy just because she's fallen in love with a wealthy man. And you can like Mark or not, but he is absolutely justified in doing anything he can to stop the media from putting her in danger.
posted by dejah420 at 9:47 PM on May 22, 2002

You don't see the Perot women, you don't see the Cheney kids, you don't see the Murdoch wives and daughters.

Bad examples. Ross Perot's family and Dick Cheney's children have been covered in the press a lot more than what Cuban's objecting to.

I don't know where people are getting the idea that there's some kind of right of privacy that the press is violating here. This isn't a reclusive Howard Hughes type we're talking about. Cuban's one of the most recognizeable people in Dallas. He sits in a prominent courtside seat at Mavericks games. The most dangerous place in town is between him and a TV camera. He has his own TV show and regular radio show. He publicly announced his engagement. A short story about his fiance involving a few fact-checking calls to her coworkers is hardly a major intrusion.
posted by rcade at 5:20 AM on May 23, 2002

rcade, I was trying to express all along that this seems uncertain to me. I don't feel that the press should have unfettered access to his life for this sort of story, especially given that it's not even really his life that's at issue here. But at the same time, Cuban is undeniably a public figure and a media whore. To me, it's a tough call either way, and that's why it's interesting.
posted by Sinner at 7:06 AM on May 23, 2002

This story looks a little different to me after Romenesko linked to this piece, which shows Cuban and said fiancee beaming brightly on the cover of Courtside Magazine (dunno what this is...the team's own magazine?). As the article points out, guess kidnappers don't read that.
posted by GaelFC at 9:34 AM on May 23, 2002

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