Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban will donate $10 million to causes benefitting women in sports and addressing domestic violence after an investigation confirmed a pattern of misconduct at the team’s workplace.
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NBA officials commissioned the investigation after a Sports Illustrated report last February detailed various instances of sexual harassment and demeaning behavior from top Mavericks officials. Several of the allegations were directed at former Mavericks President and CEO Terdema Ussery, who was found to have engaged in “improper workplace conduct” toward 15 female employees, including forcible kissing.
“The findings of the independent investigation are disturbing and heartbreaking and no employee in the NBA, or any workplace for that matter, should be subject to the type of working environment described in the report,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “We appreciate that Mark Cuban reacted swiftly, thoroughly and transparently to the allegations first set forth in Sports Illustrated – including the immediate hiring of Cynthia Marshall as CEO to effect change, but as Mark has acknowledged, he is ultimately responsible for the culture and conduct of his employees.”
Cuban will not face any further disciplinary action, the league said. Investigators “found no evidence” that Cuban had knowledge of Ussery’s actions.
The independent investigation’s findings were based on interviews with 215 current and former Mavericks staffers, as well as an analysis of more than one million documents, including internal emails.
Cuban apologized for the Mavericks’ workplace culture in an interview with ESPN.
"First, just an apology to the women involved," Cuban said. "... This is not something that just is an incident and then it's over. It stays with people. It stays with families. And I'm just sorry I didn't see it. I'm just sorry I didn't recognize it."
Aside from the $10 million donation, the league will require the Mavericks to report every quarter on its progress toward improving protections against workplace misconduct. The team will mandate workplace conduct training for all employees and pledge to report any further allegations to the league office.
“While nothing will undo the harm caused by a select few former employees of the Mavericks, the workplace reforms and the $10 million that Mark has agreed to contribute are important steps toward rectifying this past behavior and shining a light on a pervasive societal failing -- the inability of too many organizations to provide a safe and welcoming workplace for women,” Silver said.