When the NBA announced they would be doing an investigation into the Dallas Mavericks workplace following a story about allegations of sexual misconduct in the office, all eyes turned towards their owner, Mark Cuban. Cuban has been at the forefront of the organization he’s owned since 2000. But as he’s been quite possibly the most recognizable owner in sports, behind-the-scenes his organization was host to a horrible culture.
Cuban has pledged to donate $10 million to organizations that are committed to supporting the leadership and development of women in the sports industry and combating domestic violence.
Here’s the statement made by commissioner Adam Silver.
“The findings of the independent investigation are disturbing and heartbreaking and no employee in the NBA, or any workplace for that matter, should be subject to the type of working environment described in the report,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “We appreciate that Mark Cuban reacted swiftly, thoroughly and transparently to the allegations first set forth in Sports Illustrated – including the immediate hiring of Cynthia Marshall as CEO to effect change, but as Mark has acknowledged, he is ultimately responsible for the culture and conduct of his employees. While nothing will undo the harm caused by a select few former employees of the Mavericks, the workplace reforms and the $10 million that Mark has agreed to contribute are important steps toward rectifying this past behavior and shining a light on a pervasive societal failing — the inability of too many organizations to provide a safe and welcoming workplace for women.”
The following findings and NBA requirements were made during and immediately after the investigation. You can see the full report right here.
Among the investigation’s key findings:
– The investigation substantiated numerous instances of sexual harassment and other improper workplace conduct within the Mavericks organization over a period spanning more than twenty years.
– Among other things, the investigation found:
Improper workplace conduct toward fifteen female employees by the Mavericks’ former President and CEO Terdema Ussery, including inappropriate comments, touching, and forcible kissing; Improper workplace conduct by former Mavericks ticket sales employee Chris Hyde, including inappropriate comments to women of a sexual nature, the viewing and sharing of pornographic images and videos, unsolicited and unwanted sexual advances, and violent and threatening outbursts toward co-workers; and Two acts of domestic violence perpetrated by former Mavs.com reporter Earl Sneed, including one against a team employee.
– The investigators concluded that Mavericks’ management was ineffective, including a lack of compliance and internal controls, and that these shortcomings permitted the growth of an environment in which acts of misconduct and the individuals who committed them could flourish. In particular, the investigators found:
The Mavericks executive leadership team failed to respond adequately and committed a significant error in judgment by retaining Mr. Sneed following his domestic violence incidents; and the Mavericks’ executive leadership team was responsible for allowing Mr. Hyde to remain employed with the organization despite his inappropriate and problematic behavior, and failed adequately to address his various acts of misconduct.
The investigators found no evidence that Mr. Cuban was aware of Mr. Ussery’s misconduct. None of the 215 witnesses who were interviewed stated that they informed Mr. Cuban of Mr. Ussery’s actions, the investigators found no documentary evidence of such a communication, and Mr. Cuban stated that he did not know about the conduct.
The investigation report also contains a series of recommendations for changes to the Mavericks’ organization, including:
– Increasing the number of women on staff, including in leadership positions;
– Enhancing formal reporting processes for victims of misconduct;
– Implementing regular anonymous employee surveys to evaluate workplace culture; and
– Expanding and improving the Mavericks’ Human Resources department and instituting clear protocols for investigating workplace misconduct.
the NBA is requiring the Mavericks to:
– Provide the league office with quarterly reports regarding the recommendations set forth in the report and their implementation;
– Immediately report to the league office any instances or allegations of significant misconduct by any employee;
– Continually enhance and update annual “Respect in the Workplace” training for all staff, including ownership; and
– Implement a program to train all staff, including ownership, on issues related to domestic violence, sexual assault, and sexual harassment.