DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - There were some heated exchanges between Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Texas Senator Ted Cruz on Twitter Tuesday, after the Republican blamed a drop in NBA Finals ratings on social justice and Black Lives Matter messaging.
According to Sports Media Watch, the NBA's first three Finals games between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat were the least watched Finals games in the league's history.
Everything started when Cruz retweeted an article from Fox News host Sean Hannity about Sunday's game. The senator commented, "Not surprising. Personally speaking, this is the first time in years that I haven't watched a single game in the NBA Finals. #GoWokeGoBroke."
The hashtag mocked the recent stance of NBA teams and players who are calling for an end to police brutality and the killing of Black Americans.
Cuban felt the tweet was a true reflection of who Cruz is as a person. He tweeted back, "A US Senator with 3 @NBA teams in his state, employing thousands of people and he is rooting for their businesses to do poorly. This is who you are @tedcruz. Every minute of your life, this is exactly who you are."
Cruz double-downed and attributed the weaker ratings to basketball teams, "concerted effort to (1) insult their fans & (2) turn every game into a left-wing political lecture." The reference is believed to refer to the league's decisions to paintand allow players to wear messages of racial equality and justice on their jerseys.
Cuban blasted back, "You are so full of s**t. You haven't watched a game of the finals, how would you know what is being said or done? Since when is a desire to end racism an insult to anyone or political? And you don't think using #GetWokeGoBroke is a partisan insult? Again, this is who you are."
The back and forth continued as Cruz accused Cuban of "loving Chinese money" more than his fans, a reference to the controversy in 2019 when Houston Rocket general manager Daryl Morey tweeted support of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. The Chinese government took issue with the message and it led to some streaming services, sponsors and partners cutting ties with the Rockets and the NBA.
In response, Cuban said, "shame on me for putting American Civil Rights and Justice, creating jobs, growing our economy and healthcare reform over twitter proclamations."
While it can't be disputed that NBA ratings are down, the numbers have been for most sports during the pandemic. Sports Media Watch says the Stanley Cup Finals, Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Indy 500 and golf's U.S. Open have all experienced double-digit ratings declines.
for more features.