Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to donate $10M after investigation reveals 'disturbing' workplace misconduct

Cuban will donate to organizations committed to promoting women in leadership and combating domestic violence

USATSI

The seven-month-long investigation into misconduct in the Dallas Mavericks organization has concluded, and the NBA announced the results on Wednesday afternoon. Back in February, Sports Illustrated released a detailed report that noted decades of sexual harassment, domestic violence and a generally corrosive work environment inside the Mavericks' offices.

Following that story, the team launched an independent investigation, which the league said it would follow closely. Now that report, which gathered information from 215 interviews with current and former Mavericks employees, has been made public. Via the NBA release:

  • 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.

As a result, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has agreed to contribute $10 million to "organizations that are committed to supporting the leadership and development of women in the sports industry and combating domestic violence." The NBA has also imposed several requirements on the Mavericks, including the issuing of quarterly reports regarding the status of the implementation of their recommendations, reporting any allegations of significant misconduct to the league office and implementing a training program for all staff on issues related to domestic violence, sexual assault and sexual harassment.

"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."

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