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.
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.
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.”
Shams Charania: The NBA announced the Dallas Mavericks’ allegations in SI story “runs counter to the steadfast commitment of the NBA … completely unacceptable” and league plans to “closely monitor” team’s independent investigation.
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.
December 5, 2020 | 3:51 pm EST Update
Melissa Rohlin: Russell Westbrook said on the floor he’s trying “to bust somebody’s a–” and doesn’t care about shaking hands or making friends. “I’m never changing that,” he said. Off the court, he said he’s devoted to helping underserved communities and changing lives.
Melissa Rohlin: Russell Westbrook was asked what’s the biggest misconception about him. “Where do you want me to start?,” he said, adding, “…Obviously, I’m not the easiest guy to understand…But me as a teammate, me as a person, me as a father, that’s the most important thing to me.”
Chase Hughes: Westbrook: “I was lucky enough to start my career in a great culture in Oklahoma City.” Said good culture has hard-working, keep your head down mentality and he can already see it with the Wizards. “I’m just happy to be a part of it.”
The NBA has warned teams that protocol violations that lead to coronavirus spread impacting opposing teams and causing schedule derailments could result in “fines, suspensions, adjustment or loss of draft choices and game forfeitures,” according to a memo obtained by ESPN. For players violating safety protocols this season, the league warns that the possibility of in-season quarantine and reduced paychecks loom as possibilities. While the memo doesn’t outline the length of quarantines, it says that any such player “may be subject to a proportionate adjustment to pay for any games missed during the period that the player is in quarantine and undergoing testing due to engaging in such activities and/or conduct.”
At home, players and staff are forbidden to enter bars, lounges or clubs, attend live entertainment or game venues, or visit public gyms, spas, pool areas or large indoor social gatherings that exceed 15 people, the memo said. Violations will include possible disciplinary action by teams or the league, including warnings, educational sessions, fines and suspensions. What’s more, teams could be punished for failing to comply and for failing to report any “potential or actual violation, and/or any discipline imposed by the team for such violation.” If teams are found to repeatedly violate the protocols, they could be subject to “enhanced discipline.”
December 5, 2020 | 3:48 pm EST Update
Jason Anderson: Buddy Hield: “I have no regrets. There’s nothing to be worked on. I never had a problem with nobody. Everything that was being heard, it wasn’t put out by me. I love everybody here in this franchise, this organization, so I don’t regret nothing I said. I’m going to keep it 100.”
Jason Anderson: Buddy Hield on starting/backup role: “That’s not my job. I don’t control that. The head coach controls that. They brought me here to play basketball and win basketball games, so whatever they need me for, I’m going to do it.”