When Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban speaks about his team, it’s usually about something related to basketball. He’s signed a new player, made a trade with another team perhaps. But that’s not what happened when Cuban spoke to ESPN Wednesday.
“First, just an apology to the women involved. The women that in a couple cases were assaulted. And not just to them but their families. Because this is not something that just is an incident and then it’s over. It stays with people and it stays with families. I’m just sorry I didn’t see it,” Cuban said.
Cuban was apologizing to his former employees who were victims of sexual assault and harassment. News of the Mavericks’ toxic workplace culture first broke seven months ago in Sports Illustrated.
An independent investigation released Wednesday by attorneys from the firms, Krutoy Law and Lowenstein Sandler, confirmed many of the allegations made in the Sports Illustrated article.
The basketball side of the Mavericks was mostly unaffected by this issue. But some of the principal findings in this investigation include several examples of misconduct by employees on the business side of the company.
These include allegations against a employee who was two times accused of domestic violence, once against another Mavericks worker who he had a relationship with, and “both instances he was allowed to retain his job,” says Tim Cato, who covers the Dallas Mavericks for The Athletic.
“Another employee had inappropriate material in his desk during work hours, and had been verbally abusive to other coworkers. The third [accused employee] was the longtime CEO of the team on the business side. He was employed with the team until 2014 and left for unrelated reasons, but he was accused of rampant sexual harassment to female coworkers and that went entirely unpunished,” Cato added.
Marc Cuban was accused of creating a culture that did not take measures to correct this conduct. “This was allowed to happen because of the culture where the director did not take proper measures to correct [accused employees], as well as of their supervisors, who were in the positions to do things,” says Cato.
“As this is an independent investigation, no court of law has been involved and no legal charges have been made against the Mavericks, but Cato remarked that “we can trust these findings,” Cato says.
Cuban agreed to donate $10 million to organization supporting leadership opportunities for women and domestic violence victims. Regardless, some opinions say he got off easy. “I don’t think $10 million is a punishment for Mark Cuban, considering he has a networth of $4 billion. That’s a drop in the bucket,” Cato says.
The Mavericks have implemented “extra scrutiny” Cato says, but “that’s not a punishment, that’s just making sure that the team do what it was always supposed to do.”
The NBA has recommended the Mavericks follow these recommendations, but no further pressure has been forthcoming from the league.
Written by Alvaro Céspedes.