Mark Cuban takes blame for ‘horrible mistake’ of not firing Earl Sneed sooner
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban took responsibility on Wednesday for not firing a former employee sooner after the writer was involved in two separate instances of domestic violence.
Cuban, who fired former Mavs.com writer Earl K. Sneed on Tuesday following the release of a bombshell SI story, told Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com that he made a “horrible mistake in hindsight” and regrets not gathering more information.
“I want to be clear, I’m not putting the blame on anybody else,” Cuban said. “It came down to my final decision that I made. … (In hindsight), I would have fired him and still made him go to counseling.”
Details from a Dallas police report obtained by SI revealed that Sneed sat on top of his ex-girlfriend during an altercation in 2012 and “slapped her on the face and chest.” The woman suffered a fractured wrist and had bruises on her arms and chest. Sneed pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of family violence and was forced to pay a $750 fine, complete community service and enroll in anger management classes. The charges were dismissed upon completion of the sentence.
Cuban admitted that the Mavericks only got Sneed’s side of the story.
“It was bad, but we made a mistake about the whole thing and didn’t pursue what happened with the police after the fact,” he said. “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.”
Sneed was later involved in another domestic violence incident in 2014, in which a fellow Mavs employee said he got physical with her during an altercation. The woman showed up to work with a swollen face and reported the incident to her supervisor and human resources director Buddy Pittman. Still, Sneed kept his job.
“So when the second time came around … the way I looked at it was — and, again, in hindsight it was a mistake — but I didn’t want to just fire him, because them he would go out there and get hired again and do it somewhere else,” Cuban said. “That’s what I was truly afraid of and that was the discussion we had internally. It was a choice between just firing him and making sure that we had control of him. So I made the decision, it was my decision and again, in hindsight, I would probably do it differently. I made the decision that we would make him go to domestic abuse counseling as a requirement to continued employment, that he was not allowed to be alone without a chaperone in the presence of any other women in the organization or any other women in a business setting at all, and he was not allowed to date anybody [who works for the Mavericks]. From that point on – and the investigators are going to see if we missed anything else – he appeared to abide by all those rules, as far as I knew.”
In other words, Cuban’s excuse is that he was protecting other women who worked for other organizations by allowing Sneed to keep his job. Good luck with that one.
While some will give Cuban credit for taking responsibility, there’s no question the entire situation is a horrible look for him and the Mavs. Sneed’s statement on Tuesday, which you can read here, removed all doubt that Cuban was aware of what had happened, whether he knew all the details or not. The fallout from the SI report could end up being massive.