Exposing bigotry, Mark Cuban saved Josh Howard from the spotlight

Fans' racist comments made a victim of the Mavericks' anthem-dissing forward

Full names. E-mail addresses. Company connections.

Just like that, the hunters became the hunted. The voyeurs became the exhibitionists.

Around 5:30 that afternoon, Cuban removed the post, citing an "upset stomach" and a fit of conscience.

"I thought it was important to point out the hatred and ignorance of so many who quickly judge people they have never met, based purely on sound bites and headlines," Cuban wrote. "...I also knew that because of the email addresses being included, they would be receiving the same level of hate, ignorance and judgment that Josh and I had...That's what bothered me all day. So I have removed the post.

"Hopefully something good came from it being posted."

I see it, but a lot of folks won't.

They'll go on and on about Cuban coddling his players when he should be suspending them. They'll chastise Cuban for blaming cell phones and video cameras more than common sense and irresponsible pie holes. They'll criticize Cuban for holding his blog's e-mailers to a higher standard than his own employee. And the redneck racists among them will even stoop to calling the Mavs "un-patriotic," pointing to the owner previously financing an anti-war movie (Redacted), the general manager (Donnie Nelson) serving as an assistant coach for China during the Olympics and Howard's cold shoulder toward one of America's hottest buttons.

Some fans will boycott Mavs' games, refusing to invest time, money or emotion into their perception of Howard. (One of the e-mails read, "I don't spend my money on this nba shit. I'm white.") Some will boo Howard, who'll likely be under season-long scrutiny beginning Monday when Mavericks training camp opens at SMU.

But in general, they'll miss the point. Which is that Cuban is one of the best owners in all of professional sports. Maybe you don't want Cuban to be your son's principal. But your sports team's owner? Absolutely.

He will undoubtedly (but only temporarily, mind you) alienate his fan base by supporting Howard and posting e-mails, and he doesn't give a shit. Because, ultimately, Cuban believes Howard will help the Mavericks win games. And winning, in case you've forgotten, erases everything from slighting anthems to desecrating sacred stars.

Right, Terrell Owens?

Here's betting that today Josh Howard is watching his words a little more carefully.

And that Mark Cuban's e-mail inbox is a little less crowded.

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