The NBA apparently doesn’t think Mark Cuban (hardly the Association’s favorite owner) verbally abusing an opposing team’s mother is worthy of a suspension, and nor does it seem Dallas Basketball’s Matt Fisher feel a line was crossed. When the subject of the “thug” slur was raised yesterday on Michael Irvin’s radio program, Fisher promised to catalog the many ways that Denver’s Kenyon Martin qualified. Some examples (“he was hit with 11 technical fouls this season and last. He was ejected from one game. He committed three flagrant fouls, one off the league lead,”) are more rooted in objective research than others (“he wears a perpetual ‘look-how-tough-I-am’ scowl”)

His girlfriend Trina™s top CD is œDa Baddest Bitch.™™ She was also featured on a CD by Trick Daddy. Her big song was œNann Ni**a.™™ The name of the CD?


So how is the word œthug™™ offensive when it™s the name on your girlfriend™s artwork?

Last week, Kenyon™s sister Tamara was on Irvin™s show and she defended her brother.

“My brother’s not a thug,” said Tamara.

Fine. Pick a different word. Understand that race has nothing to do with this; œthug™™ is a synonym for hoodlum, punk, strong-armer, toughie, goon, tough ¦ in pop culture, the word œthug™™ far pre-dates anything having to do with African-Americans. œScarface™™ may be America™s most famous œthug.™™ (And a movie very much embraced by wanna-be™s, I might add.)

Or could go with Marlon Brando, who played œthugs™™ in œThe Godfather,™™ œOn the Waterfront,™™ œStreetcar Named Desire.™™ œThe Young Lions,™™ and œThe Wild Ones.™™ (Google œBrando™™ and œthug™™ and you™ll be busy all day.)

In real life there were/are Irish œthugs™™ and there were Italian œthugs™™ and the word actually comes from India, where a œthuggee™™ was a fanatic bad guy.

So if anybody should be offended here “ Michael, for a moment there in our debate, actually tried to compare the œthug™™ word to the œN-word™™ — it should be somebody from India.

As Fisher points out, Cuban is not the first person or even the first NBA owner to call Martin a thug. He is, however, the only NBA owner recently charged with going out of his way to yell at the mother of an opposing player. Whether or not Cuban should be held accountable for what the Nuggets continue to describe as a menacing atmosphere is another matter, but precedent was clearly established. If television cameras can capture The Owner With A Boner seeking out Nuggets’ family members with no subsequent penalty, why should different rules apply to the average American Airlines Arena ticket holder?