Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was under fire Wednesday after Sports Illustrated reported that the Mavs workplace was hostile and corrosive.
Writes SI, “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.”
The article adds, “It was a real-life ‘Animal House,’ says one former organization employee who left recently after spending roughly five years with the Mavs.”
In a separate story on Wednesday, SI writes, “Mark Cuban was not among the Mavericks executives accused of sexual harassment in a Sports Illustrated investigation. But as franchise owner — and a famously hands-on franchise owner — inevitably, he becomes part of this story. Multiple sources speculate that Cuban ‘must have known’ about the Mavs’ organizational culture and prevalence of sexual harassment. Cuban adamantly denies that.
“SI contacted the Mavericks and Cuban on Monday seeking comment. Within an hour, Cuban reached out via phone. He says that he had just fired Buddy Pittman, the Mavs longtime VP of Human Resources, and had already hired a ‘third party’ to handle harassment complaints. Late Tuesday night, the team released a statement alluding to another team employee, Earl Sneed, also being terminated.
“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.”
Cuban has been the owner of the Dallas Mavericks since 2000.
In a statement about the SI story the Mavs said, “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 statement added, “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.
“We are committed — to our employees, our team and our fans — to meet the goals of dignity, security and fairness that define the Dallas Mavericks.”