Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has denied any previous knowledge of allegations of sexual misconduct against two former employees.
In an exposé published Tuesday, Sports Illustrated reported that former team president Terdema Ussery and team website reporter Earl Sneed had engaged in inappropriate workplace behavior while working for the Mavericks, an NBA team.
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Ussery has been accused of making sexually suggestive remarks to women, who have called the Mavericks’ workplace “misogynistic” and likened it to Animal House. Sneed was reportedly twice accused of domestic assault. Ussery left the team in 2015 and Sneed has reportedly been fired following the publication of the Sports Illustrated story.
Ussery told SI he was “deeply disappointed” in anonymous sources’ “outright false and inflammatory accusations,” saying he was never aware of sexual harassment complaints against him in 20-plus years with the Mavericks.
Sneed declined to comment to SI.
Cuban, meanwhile, told Sports Illustrated that the story’s allegations were “all new” to him and said that the team’s human resources representative had been fired because of the report.
Cuban called the actions by Ussery and Sneed “wrong” and “abhorrent” and said that the situation was not condoned by him or his team.
“I can’t tell you how many times, particularly since all this [#MeToo] stuff has been coming out recently I asked our HR director, ‘Do we have a problem? Do we have any issues I have to be aware of?’ And the answer was no,” Cuban told SI.
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How could a hands-on NBA owner like Cuban be unaware of such allegations? Cuban contends that he was “not involved in the day to day” of the business, deferring instead to the CEO and to HR.
Cuban told Sports Illustrated that he will not let such an environment persist. He said he plans to “fix it,” though he did not provide specifics.
“[W]e’re going to take every step. It’s not something we tolerate….I’m embarrassed, to be honest with you, that it happened under my ownership, and it needs to be fixed. Period. End of story,” he said.