Mark Cuban Tries to Stop the Presses: A Transcript
[The first 20 seconds of the conversation were not recorded, but the exchange heated up quickly.]
MARK CUBAN: You tell me! [inaudible] What about security? Can you understand why that’s an issue and a concern to me?
TIM ROGERS: First of all, you know I don’t want to start a fight with you. Right away, you and I are on edge here, and that’s not the way I want this conversation to go. So, yeah, I can’t understand what your world’s like. So I’m not sure what you mean by security.
CUBAN: Well, considering my financial state. Imagine that the big balances were switched and they were yours. Do you know how much I have to carry for kidnapping insurance?
ROGERS: No, I don’t.
CUBAN: Do you know what it’s like when you say to your fiancée, “Let’s go to Mexico.” She goes, “No, I don’t think we should because I’m afraid we might get kidnapped because it’s unstable there.” Have you ever had to deal with that?
ROGERS: No. Of course I haven’t.
CUBAN: Well, it’s a concern.
ROGERS: Okay, let me just tell you. I’m completely upfront. I mean, there is nothing I could write that hasn’t already been reported. Tiffany has been called your fiancée in the Morning News, right?
CUBAN: You’re saying you want to rehash what’s already been printed?
ROGERS: Okay, just let me tell you why to me it’s interesting. I work with people in the media, and when I called them and said, “Hey, you know Mark Cuban is engaged?” Every one of them went, “What?”
CUBAN: That’s the way I like to do it. That’s why when I announced it on my show, I didn’t give out her name. Right. You don’t see pictures of her with her name attached to them. You might have seen her name. Stewart is a very common last name, but you have never seen a picture with her name. Well, I take that back. When I first bought the Mavericks-
ROGERS: The Associated Press put out a picture with the two of you at the game.
CUBAN: Okay, so someone saw us. A potential problem has to do a lot of work. You’re putting out something just to add to it. I asked every media, when I announced on the show and even before that, when it happened and people found out. You don’t think that every media outlet in Dallas didn’t ask me about it?
ROGERS: Right. So, Mark, let me ask you a question-
CUBAN: You know what? I asked them, “Please, I try to cooperate and do what I can to help you. I’m asking for one thing.”
ROGERS: So why did you announce it on the show?
CUBAN: I didn’t give a name.
ROGERS: [pleading] You’re a smart guy–
CUBAN: I didn’t give a name! I didn’t give a name-intentionally.
ROGERS: Right. But as soon as you say-just like the same question you asked me-
CUBAN: Because I’ve been getting questions all the time. Are you? Are you? Are you? Are you? So I just answered the question. That way, I can just say, “I answered it. That’s it. It’s done.”
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.
CUBAN: All right. Do what you need to do. But just be forewarned that if you’re going to f— with me, I’ll f— right back.
ROGERS: Hey! Whoa, whoa!
CUBAN: I’m serious! This is something I’m not taking lightly. This isn’t, “Well, he’s fat, he’s ugly, he’s this, he’s that.” But I will f— right back, because this is important. Yeah, if somebody wants to be a big enough prick, they can find a way, but there’s no reason to make it easier for them. And you can justify it any way you damn well please. And you can come up with all the rationalization you want, Tim, but if something f—s up, just think how you’re going to feel.
ROGERS: Hey, Mark-
CUBAN: Especially when I come and slice your f—ing nuts off.
ROGERS: Dude, it’s not about f—ing with anybody.
CUBAN: It is.
ROGERS: You’re a celebrity in this town.
CUBAN: I understand. And I’m asking. I’m telling you the circumstances. I’m asking. There is a million-a billion other things to write about. When you wanted me to do your show, fine, come on in [the writer had a failed radio show on which Cuban once appeared]. It didn’t matter what the ratings are. “Well, you know, Tim, these are the ratings, and, you know, all things considered, it’s not going to do me a whole lot of good.” And when I came back on, it was the same thing. I didn’t say, “Well, you know, I could rationalize this and that. All right, you guys are great. You and Yvonne, hey, it’s great people. I’ll come on and I’ll kibitz and we’ll have fun and we’ll do the show.” You know, because those are the things you try to do when you try to build relationships.
ROGERS: You’re making this sound like a personal thing, Mark.
CUBAN: It is a personal thing because this is my life!
ROGERS: It’s not like that at all! You’re a celebrity and-
CUBAN: And there are a million other ways that you can cover anything associated with me, and I don’t give a s—.
ROGERS: [long pause] I have to get this magazine out, and I’m looking at a blank page. And I’ve gotta do it at the end of this week. Tell me what I should write. You said there were a million other things.
CUBAN: You can write whatever you damn well please! I don’t care! As long as it’s not about that. You can write [that] my show sucks. You can write the show’s great. You can write the Mavs are wonderful. You can write the Mavs suck, that they’ll never win another game. I don’t care.
ROGERS: Give me something else. Give me something-I mean. First of all, I’m dealing with a quote-unquote news section I got to fill here. So it’s not like I can just-this is not a forum for me to-
CUBAN: Write about the Mavs ManiAACs, the fat guys we have.
ROGERS: So, that’s an interesting point because that was written about in today’s paper. It’s interesting to me that all you have to do is ask people not to even mention something that, like I say, is already out there. You’ve already mentioned it on your show. It’s already been in the newspaper.
CUBAN: There were references to it but it wasn’t written about.
ROGERS: Okay, let me ask you this question. Do you call that guy, Bill Campbell, at the Morning News and say, “Why the hell did you mention that Tiffany is my fiancée?” Is he getting the same pressure that I’m getting?
CUBAN: He didn’t write a story about it. He didn’t write a story. There’s no way to identify her.
ROGERS: He said that Mark Cuban’s fiancée-
CUBAN: Right, but you don’t have a picture. You don’t have anything else beyond that.
ROGERS: Okay, what about the Associated Press guy who publishes a photograph? I mean, I’m just wondering, Mark, am I the only one?
CUBAN: That was awhile ago. That is not recent. That was awhile ago, before we were engaged.
ROGERS: Mark, and look, man, here’s the bottom line, too, because I’m conflicted, and I’m not lying to you about that because-
CUBAN: All right, I understand.
ROGERS: I mean, forget about who the hell you are and how much money you have. I don’t really care about that. But, you’re just a guy.
CUBAN: I understand from your perspective that, you know, news is news. If you’re in the limelight, people want to read, dada, dada. I understand. Now I’m asking you to understand from my perspective.
ROGERS: Well, I’m trying to, man. I really am.
CUBAN: It’s a simple thing. You’re married, right?
CUBAN: And if all the sudden, someone started stalking you, it wouldn’t matter to you what the justification was. If, in your mind, you could have done one thing, potentially. You never would know which the one thing is. But if you could have kept that one thing from happening, you don’t think it’s going to haunt you for the rest of your life?
ROGERS: [chuckle] Well, I mean, you could say that about any time.
CUBAN: You’re talking about-
ROGERS: There’s no way I can argue against what you’re saying, obviously.
CUBAN: You never know what the thing is that triggers it. And so, yeah, you can justify it by saying, “There was a reference here, there was a reference there.” But there hasn’t been one, single story. Don’t you think that’s a little bit odd?
ROGERS: Well, yeah, Mark, that’s exactly why-
CUBAN: You’re calling her friends. You’re calling people she worked with. My god, Tim.
ROGERS: Look, and let me tell you: the only reason I’m doing that is just so I can say, “Tiffany Stewart, born in Dallas, 30 years old.” Just to get those-I mean, I gotta call five people just to print how old she is. So if you’re hearing back from a lot of people-
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.
CUBAN: No, all the other s— I can deal with. It’s just one topic.
ROGERS: Okay, let me ask you this, Mark. So, I’m talking with a friend of mine who works at another publication, and I’m asking for his advice. I lay out the situation for him, and it’s just like I told you, man. I’m not lying. I’m conflicted about it. Because I respect people’s privacy, and on the other hand, you know, I’ve got a job to do. Okay, so I’m telling him about the situation and asking for his advice. And he says, “Well, I’ll just tell you right now, if you don’t write about it, then I’m going to write a media story about how all Mark Cuban has to do is tell the media in town-“
CUBAN: And he’ll look like an idiot because people will say, “You know what? This is one area, we can understand that.” That’s great. He can write that story. Do your buddy a favor-
ROGERS: No, no, Mark. Hold on.
CUBAN: -create a story for him.
ROGERS: No, no, let me just explain. My point is if I don’t do it-and I’m a sympathetic guy-if I don’t do it-
CUBAN: Why do you think it hasn’t been written about? It happened in January!
ROGERS: But, Mark, you’re going to get married eventually, right?
ROGERS: You’re going to go to the altar.
CUBAN: And it won’t be anywhere near here.
ROGERS: But it doesn’t matter where it is. The story will be reported by somebody!
CUBAN: It’ll be a small item, just like it was for this.
ROGERS: Mark, if it’s not me, a hometown guy who’s sympathetic to you-
CUBAN: Look, I managed being able to do it this long, okay?
ROGERS: You can’t stop that.
CUBAN: That’s my problem, not yours. You have no idea how important this is to me. I’m not trying to put the pressure on you to say, “Wow.” But I will f— so hard.
ROGERS: Mark, don’t say you’re not putting pressure on me.
CUBAN: No, I’m not saying-I understand I’m putting pressure on you. But I’m telling you, I want D Magazine to understand that this is that important to me.
ROGERS: And you’re not putting pressure on me?
CUBAN: No, I’m putting tons of pressure on you. I’m putting tons of pressure on you. But I will call every advertiser you have. If there’s somebody that I know that buys advertising, I will tell them to yank it if they want to do any business with me, because that’s how important this is to me. Because if you f— with me, I will f— you right back. And I’m not saying you personally, because you’re just trying to do your job. But I am putting pressure on you, because this isn’t a major thing. This 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.
ROGERS: [pause] All right, well, first of all, let me back up and just say I appreciate what you said that you understand it’s not just me making the call. Cause for what it’s worth, I am a guy just doing my job.
CUBAN: I understand and I respect that. And you have to respect the position I’m in.
ROGERS: Well, I’m trying to. I am.
CUBAN: If you can’t understand it, you might want to go home and look your wife in the eye-the eyes.
ROGERS: [laughs] She does have two.
CUBAN: And ask yourself that question again, okay? Do you have any kids?
ROGERS: Yeah, I do.
CUBAN: Okay, you might want to look at him and give him a big ol’ hug. And ask yourself, if something happened, you wouldn’t be able to live with yourself.
ROGERS: All right. Well, I appreciate you giving me a call, and I will-
CUBAN: Let me ask you a question? God forbid something did happen. You just ask yourself how you would feel.
ROGERS: Let me ask you this as a question, okay. If-
CUBAN: We’re not talking The New York Times, and you’re uncovering some big story.
ROGERS: No, I know that. I know that.
CUBAN: You’re talking about fluff.
ROGERS: Yeah, no, I know. Sure. Yeah. No, I know. I’m not breaking Watergate.
CUBAN: You’re exactly right. You’re dealing with an issue of personal safety versus fluff.
CUBAN: That’s what makes it a f—able offense.
ROGERS: [laughs] Let me ask you this question, okay. Because, you know, like I say, I’ve got a job to do, and even though this is minutia compared to the issues we are discussing right now-you know, life and, you know, what the gentlemanly, proper thing to do is-I’ve got a page to fill. If I have a meeting with my boss tomorrow and we decide that we are very scared of you and we don’t want you to shut our magazine down by calling all of our advertisers, slicing my nuts off or whatever it is-let’s say we decide, okay, it’s not prudent to do this. It’s not the right thing, and it’s not prudent. Can I come to your office and get an interview?
CUBAN: I’m getting ready to jump on a plane right now to go to New York, but you can e-mail me questions about whatever you want.
ROGERS: How long are you going to be in New York?
CUBAN: For two days. I come back right before the game Wednesday.
ROGERS: If we decide not to do it and I send you an e-mail-like I’m thinking of an alternative. I could do something like “Things I’ve Learned,” and it could be-have you seen how Esquire does that format?
CUBAN: Yeah. In fact, Esquire asked me to do that. Yeah.
ROGERS: We could maybe set up something like that.
ROGERS: I will send you an e-mail.
CUBAN: Just like when I came on your show. You say, “Hey, come on the show a couple of times.” I’m happy to help you. That’s what relationships are about, right? I’m happy to help you. Just like I’ve been up to this point.
ROGERS: I will send you an email by 10 a.m. tomorrow and let you know what’s going on.
CUBAN: Thanks, Tim.
ROGERS: Thanks, Mark. Goodbye.
When Deborah Yates comes to town this month to reprise her Tony-nominated role as The Girl in the Yellow Dress in Contact, the SMU grad fears some of her old friends might not recognize her. “I guess you could say I was a late bloomer,” says the card-carrying Mensa member. “I was always such a brain in school— National Merit Scholar, the whole thing. When I told my parents I wanted to go into show business, they were afraid I was wasting my potential.” A combination of beauty, brains, and amazing dancing ability, the Jacksonville, Texas, native got her start as a dancer for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and then as a Rockette. If you miss her June 4-16 at Fair Park Music Hall, you can catch her in the recently released VH-1 movie Warning: Parental Advisory.
Stacy Sanches was born in Dallas in 1973 and graduated from Lakeview Centennial High School in Garland in 1992. She was the 1996 Playb