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#pounditSaturday, May 18, 2024

Mavericks issue statement in response to SI article on uncomfortable workplace

Mark Cuban

The Dallas Mavericks have reacted swiftly and strongly to an article from Sports Illustrated that detailed several examples of how uncomfortable of a work environment they harbored the past two decades.

SI published an article on Tuesday night by Jon Wertheim and Jessica Luther titled “Inside the Corrosive Workplace of the Dallas Mavericks.” The article centers mostly on the team’s former president and CEO for nearly 20 years, Terdema Ussery. The article begins with a strong example of his harassment, which included him saying to a female employee she was going to get gang-banged that weekend.

Beyond that, SI reported multiple examples of sexual inappropriate conduct by Ussery towards female employees.

“Two women claimed to SI that Ussery harassed them for years. These incidents ranged from inappropriate remarks to requests for sex to touching women’s calves and thighs during meetings,” the article states.

SI says Ussery was investigated in 1998 after several complaints of inappropriate behavior. Ussery was retained (and continued working with the team until 2015). The Mavericks brought in a new head of human resources, whom many describe as not being sensitive towards complaints about the work environment.

Ussery ended up leaving for Under Armour but resigned after less than two months on the job following a complaint made by a female employee to human resources about his sexual inappropriateness.

In addition to Ussery, who was the central focus of the piece, SI also reports that Earl K. Sneed, a reporter for the Mavericks’ website, pleaded guilty to a domestic violence charge in 2012 and continued to work for the site. In 2014, he allegedly hit a female coworker whom he was dating.

Team owner Mark Cuban says that the HR head has since been suspended and Sneed has been fired.

The team said the following in a statement in response to the article:

“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.
[…]
“There is no room for such conduct in the Mavericks’ workplace — or any workplace.

“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.”

Cuban has denied knowledge of the allegations and vows to clean things up. While we believe he is making an earnest effort to improve the workplace, we have an extremely hard time believing Cuban did not know about any of the allegations made against Ussery, especially considering there was an investigation of him conducted in 1998.

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