NBA finishes Mavs probe; Cuban to donate $10M
2:43 PM ET
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban will donate $10 million to women’s organizations but he will not face any other punishment stemming from what NBA commissioner Adam Silver called “disturbing and heartbreaking” allegations of harassment and violence toward female employees within the organization, the league announced Wednesday.
The NBA launched an investigation seven months ago following a Sports Illustrated report in March which described a culture of misogyny and predatory sexual behavior that spanned decades in the Mavericks’ organization, including numerous allegations against former CEO and president Terdema Ussery, who left the Mavs in 2015.
On Wednesday, the NBA responded to findings from an outside law firm that spoke to 215 current and former Mavericks employees and examined more than 1.6 million documents, emails and text messages.
“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,” Silver said in a statement Wednesday. “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.”
Marshall was hired at the Mavericks’ new CEO on Feb. 26, five days after the SI report.
The investigation found there was “improper workplace conduct” toward 15 female employees by Ussery, including inappropriate comments, touching, and forcible kissing. It also found improper workplace conduct by former ticket sales employee Chris Hyde, including inappropriate comments to women of a sexual nature and the viewing and sharing of pornographic images and videos.
While saying there was no wrongdoing on Cuban’s part, the NBA did say that Cuban didn’t pay enough attention to the business culture within the Mavericks’ organization.
“As Mark has acknowledged, he is ultimately responsible for the culture and conduct of his employees,” Silver’s statement said. “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 Mavericks have called a news conference for 4:15 p.m. ET Wednesday with Marshall and Anne Milgram, who headed the investigation that included New York-based Krutoy Law.
In the SI report, Ussery was accused of multiple acts of inappropriate behavior, including sexually suggestive comments and inappropriate touching, toward female employees during his 18 years with the team. Employees say complaints were ignored by the head of human resources as well as superiors. Ussery, who was investigated by the team after similar claims in 1998, denied the allegations to SI.
Cuban told SI that he fired human resources director Buddy Pittman after learning details of the magazine’s report, which included claims that superiors were seen as unresponsive to complaints.
The SI report said team website reporter Earl Sneed was twice accused of domestic assault while working for the Mavericks, including a guilty plea in a case that was dismissed when he met the conditions of the agreement. Sneed also was fired in February, and Cuban told ESPN then that he was solely responsible for the decision to keep Sneed on staff after learning of the second incident, which had been reported to Pittman in 2014.
At the time of the SI report, Cuban said he was not aware of “gruesome details” of the first incident in 2011 that resulted in Sneed being arrested at the Mavericks’ office.
Under Marshall, the Mavericks have since implemented a 100-day plan by revamping the team’s code of conduct, putting employees through workplace training and strengthening a zero-tolerance policy.
She also has promoted six women to executive roles within the organization, where there had been none prior to Marshall’s arrival.
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon contributed to this report.
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Via:: NDTV – Sports