- ESPN’s Rachel Nichols grilled Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on his lack of knowledge about allegations of sexual harassment and workplace misconduct within the Mavs.
- Investigators released a report following a seven-month investigation into the organization that substantiated allegations made against several Mavericks employees about misconduct.
- Cuban apologized for his lack of knowledge and said he did not have any excuses.
- In addition to policy changes within the team mandated by the NBA, Cuban is donating $10 million to organizations that support women in leadership roles.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban appeared on ESPN’s “The Jump” Wednesday after the release of a report from independent investigators into the allegations of sexual harassment and workplace misconduct in the Mavericks.
The investigation came after a Sports Illustrated report in February detailed allegations made against former Mavs president and CEO Terdema Ussery, former team beat writer Earl Sneed, and sales employee Chris Hyde.
The investigation substantiated claims that Ussery had engaged in inappropriate touching and kissing of female employees. It found Hyde had viewed pornographic images at work, made inappropriate comments, and had dropped a used condom on the floor for other employees to see. It also found that Sneed had twice engaged in domestic violence, including once with a fellow Mavs employee, who showed up to work bruised.
The investigation also found that Cuban did not know about Ussery’s behavior. None of the women interviewed by investigators said they had spoken to Cuban directly, and Cuban denied any knowledge of the overall culture, though he was aware of specific incidents regarding Hyde and Sneed.
On Wednesday, Nichols grilled Cuban about his lack of knowledge about the accusations. Cuban repeatedly said he did not have any excuses and that he had mistakes in his handling of the situations.
“You run an NBA franchise where you’ve talked a lot publicly about how you know everything that goes on there, you have the finger on the pulse, and you did know a few of these isolated incidents – we’ll get back to them,” Nichols said. “But even the best-case scenario of you not knowing, the best version of this is that women in your office felt unsafe coming to work. That they made official complaints to human resources. That they were threatened, they were not promoted. If you just didn’t know any of this, how do you explain that?”
“I didn’t know, and I don’t have an explanation,” Cuban said. “I can give you lots of reasons, but they don’t matter. What does matter is it was my responsibility, it didn’t happen, and I have to be accountable for it.”
“In hindsight, it was staring me right in the face, and I missed it,” Cuban added.
Several times, Nichols pressed Cuban on his lack of knowledge, reading directly from the investigators’ report, including when Cuban told Ussery through an intermediary that he would not throw him under the bus following SI’s report. Cuban said he was trying to avoid a PR battle with Ussery.
In one instance, Nichols asked why Cuban kept Ussery as CEO when he bought the team in 2000 when it had been reported that Ussery had been accused of similar actions.
Cuban said he wasn’t aware of those accusations and that he should have done his due diligence, but ultimately did not.
Later in the interview, Nichols brought up Sneed, who had previously pleaded guilty to beating his then-fiancee, leaving her bruised and with a broken wrist. Nichols noted that Cuban offered to pay his legal expenses. When Cuban said he only had information coming from Sneed, Nichols said the investigation showed Cuban had been emailed by Sneed’s former fiancee.
Cuban said he made a mistake in not following up, starting an investigation, or looking for a police report.
The Mavericks have undergone structural changes in leadership, including the hiring of new CEO Cynthia Marshall, who also later appeared on “The Jump” to discuss changes to the organization. The NBA mandated changes to the Mavs policies and reporting to the league office. Cuban is also donating $10 million to various organizations that support women in leadership roles.
Two excerpts of Cuban’s interview can be seen below: