“I want to be clear, I’m not putting the blame on anybody else,” Cuban told ESPN. “It came down to my final decision that I made.” In hindsight, Cuban said, “I would have fired him and still made him go to counseling” after learning details of the first domestic violence incident, expressing regret for not following up with police to discover those details.
The Mavericks will provide all necessary resources to ensure that every current and former employee receives appropriate support. We will also conduct comprehensive training through experts and take the necessary steps to ensure that our workplace is a safe, respectful and productive one for all Dallas Mavericks employees.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was solely responsible for the decision to keep former Mavericks.com reporter Earl K. Sneed on staff after two separate domestic violence incidents, telling ESPN on Wednesday that it was a "horrible mistake in hindsight."
"It was bad, but we made a mistake about the whole thing and didn't pursue what happened with the police after the fact," Cuban told ESPN. "So we got it mostly from Earl's perspective, and because we didn't dig in with the details -- and obviously it was a horrible mistake in hindsight -- we kind of, I don't want to say took his word for it, but we didn't see all the gruesome details until just recently. I didn't read the police report on that until just [Tuesday], and that was a huge mistake obviously."
One of Mark Cuban's "Shark Tank" business partners says the billionaire always acted like a consummate pro with her ... and she'd be SHOCKED if he really did know about the horrible things happening with the Dallas Mavs. We spoke with Raven Thomas who got Mark to invest in her gourmet food business -- The Painted Pretzel -- during a 2012 episode of "Shark Tank."
One longtime Mavs employee told Wertheim and Luther, “Trust me, Mark knows everything that goes on. Of course Mark knew [about the instances of harassment and assault]. Everyone knew.” Cuban categorically refutes this account. He asserts that he “did not know” about any misconduct and explains that his involvement with the team was purely on the basketball side.
Cuban was outspoken and emotional in a discussion with SI, alternately remorseful for the lack of oversight and defiant that he had no prior knowledge of the situation. On being given a list of various assertions made in the SI story: Cuban: “I mean, this is all new to me. That’s what I can tell you. Um, I mean, the only awareness I have is just because I heard you guys were looking into some things. And I started doing some, asking some questions. Terdema [Ussery] was hired before I got here, and the assertions you made were news to me. I talked to our HR person and again after these came up. And I was told there had been no complaints since I bought the team or even prior to that. None. And based off of what I’ve read here, um, we just fired our HR person. I don’t have any tolerance for what I’ve read… I feel sick to my stomach.”
We had a number of women basically say Mark knew. ‘He had to know.’ ‘He turned a blind eye as long as the revenue came in.’ The consensus among the women was basically there’s no way Mark didn’t know. What do you say to them? Cuban: "That’s incorrect. That’s incorrect. Look, as long as the revenue came in. We lost money. Jon, you saw how we ran. I focused on basketball. I declare over and over and over again this is not about as long as the revenue came in. You know, that’s absolutely incorrect. I did not know. The only thing I ever heard in terms of Terdema was that he had an affair with somebody in the office early on in my tenure and I mean I didn’t think it was appropriate at that time to address somebody on their personal business. I had no inkling. Nobody said a word to be about anything related to harassment in any way shape or form
Having reviewed his records, Cuban called on SI on Tuesday to clarify that an email indicated that, in 2014, he had been made aware of Sneed’s alleged assault of a female co-worker. “I was aware of it. I also suggested that we put him through domestic violence training class and then create a zero tolerance policy that included a variety of things…I don’t want this to be incorrect. I don’t want you to think I misled you. We took this very seriously.”
Wertheim’s reporting indicates that female employees regard the basketball side—particularly when in the presence of Mavericks players—as safe and respectful environment. To the extent Cuban was indeed on the “basketball” side, he operated in a space where female employees appear to have been treated well. Cuban’s attempt to create a bright line of demarcation between basketball and business also helps him deflect blame—it implies that he was not in a position to monitor the alleged misconduct of Ussery, who worked for Cuban from 2000 to 2015, or that of Mavericks.com writer Earl Sneed, who worked in different capacities for the team from 2010 until being let go today.
A new statement from Sneed appears to outline just how much the Mavericks knew about Sneed’s behavior. Rather than fire him, Sneed says the Mavericks took some very strange steps to try to keep him away from the team’s female employees. Here’s the statement in full (emphasis mine): While both instances described in the report are damning and language used is not accurate, the two relationships described in the report are not something I am proud to have been a part of. I underwent much counseling after both situations, under the direction of Buddy Pittman, and I feel like I grew from that counseling. I also signed a contract stating that I would not have one-on-one contact or fraternize with female employees after the inaccurately described incident with my female co-worker, who was a live-in girlfriend. I abided by the details of that contract for four years, and received counseling during that period to avoid future instances. I thank Buddy Pittman for helping me to grow during that time, and I thank Mark Cuban for his willingness to help facilitate that growth.
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.”
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 2, 2020 | 3:37 pm EST Update
Shams Charania: LiAngelo Ball is signing a one-year, non-guaranteed contract with the Detroit Pistons, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
Shams Charania: LiAngelo Ball, the brother of Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball (No. 2 overall pick in 2017) and Hornets No. 3 pick LaMelo Ball, is signing an Exhibit 10 deal, sources said. The Ball brothers are now all signed to NBA contracts.
A childhood lesson has come back to help Victor Oladipo amid rumors that the Pacers star wants out of Indiana. “Growing up, I was always taught not to engage in nonsense,” Oladipo said. “I never have. I never came out and said that I didn’t want to play for the Pacers or be in this organization, but, yeah, I’m focused on now. Here and now.”
“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.”
“I’ve known Book for a long time and he’s not only talented, he’s a dog. He’s really competitive. I know Book and when we hoop and play against each other we be about to fight,” Paul said with a grin. “And then looking at the staff, [coach] Monty [Williams] is an unbelievable person. Aside from being a great coach. It was a lot of things here.”
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.”