Dennis Chambers: The #NBA statement on the Sports Illus…


More on Mavericks Harassment Claims

Interviews with more than a dozen former and current Mavericks employees in different departments, conducted during a months-long SPORTS ILLUSTRATED investigation, paint a picture of a corporate culture rife with misogyny and predatory sexual behavior: alleged public fondling by the team president; outright domestic assault by a high-profile member of the Mavs.com staff; unsupportive or even intimidating responses from superiors who heard complaints of inappropriate behavior from their employees; even an employee who openly watched pornography at his desk.
In the summer of 1998, the Mavericks conducted an internal investigation of Terdema Ussery after several female employees made complaints of inappropriate workplace behavior. Ussery was retained, but shortly thereafter the entire Mavericks workforce received revamped employee handbooks that included a new sexual harassment policy. Buddy Pittman, a new head of H.R., was hired by the Mavs that summer as well, no coincidence according to multiple team sources. “They basically brought [Pittman] in to save T from himself,” says one former employee, referring to Ussery by his nickname. She noted as well that Pittman’s cubicle—he did not have a private workspace—was within earshot of Ussery’s office.
Earl K. Sneed was involved in a domestic dispute with a girlfriend. According to a Dallas police report, Sneed “sat on top of her and slapped her on the face and chest.” At one point he told the woman, “I’m going to f------ kick your ass. Today is gonna be the worst day of your life.” Sneed, according to the report, “fled before the reporting officer arrived.” The woman, according to the report, suffered a fractured right wrist and bruises on her arms and chest in the altercation.
Reached by SI on Monday, Cuban expressed embarrassment and horror at the accusations—but insisted he had no knowledge of the corrosive culture in his offices. “This is all new to me,” he said. “The only awareness I have is because I heard you guys were looking into some things…. Based off of what I’ve read here, we just fired our HR person. I don’t have any tolerance for what I’ve read.”
The Dallas Mavericks issue the following statement from owner Mark Cuban on an upcoming Sports Illustrated article: The Dallas Mavericks have received information about behavior in our workplace that appears to have violated the organization’s standards of conduct. It has been alleged that a former officer of the organization engaged in various acts of inappropriate conduct toward women over a period of years. This individual left the employment of the Mavericks nearly three years ago and the Mavericks have only learned of the scope of these complaints in the past days.
The Mavericks organization takes these allegations extremely seriously. Yesterday we notified the league office and immediately hired outside counsel to conduct a thorough and independent investigation. The investigation will focus on the specific allegations related to this former employee, and will look more broadly at our company’s workplace practices and policies. In addition, an employee whose job was to receive and investigate such complaints and report them accurately and fully, has been suspended pending the conclusion of our investigation.
Storyline: Mavericks Harassment Claims
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December 2, 2020 | 3:37 pm EST Update
“It’s very difficult, especially when things are said about you that’s negative,” Oladipo said. “I’ve been in the league for eight years now, this is my eighth year, and this is the first time anyone has accused me of anything like this. It’s very interesting to me, but at the end of the day, I can’t let none of the stuff that I can’t control make me lose focus of what really matters, and that’s this team, my teammates, this organization and making sure I’m healthy.”
But as he was formally introduced by the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, the 15-year veteran made sure to point out he isn’t looking at his job to just be a mentor. “Everyone always talks about what I can teach [Devin Booker] or teach some of these other guys, but they’re teaching me at the same time too,” Paul said. “I’m not James Naismith by no means. First things first, I’m not just coming in here trying to teach everybody. I’m his teammate. We’re here to hoop, we’re here to compete and that’s how I approach this.”
The New Orleans Pelicans’ star seemed at peace with his relaxed body language. Then, Zion Williamson confirmed it when answering how he feels after spending his rookie season dealing with a knee injury that limited his workload. “I feel great mentally and physically,” Williamson said Wednesday on a conference call. “Year one was a lot mentally and physically for me. But I needed that experience. It showed me a lot. Now I’m getting ready for year two.”
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