Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban will donate $10 million to groups that support domestic abuse survivors and help place women into leadership roles as an investigation found multiple Dallas Mavericks employees engaged in sexual harassment of female staffers for years.
On Wednesday, an independent investigation by the NBA — sparked by a Sports Illustrated report in February — found that numerous female employees on the administrative side of the franchise were subjected to sexual harassment over two decades. The article largely focused on former Mavericks CEO Terdema Ussery, who‚ in one shocking instance, allegedly asked a female employee whether she was going to “get gang-banged” over the weekend as she ate lunch at the facility.
The NBA’s independent investigation involved 215 interviews with current and former Mavs employees and a review of millions of documents.
“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,” Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement on the NBA.com website on Wednesday.
“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 continued.
Along with Ussery — who denied the allegations in SI’s original report — two other employees were highlighted in the investigation, including a ticket sales employee who allegedly made “inappropriate comments to women of a sexual nature,” looked at and shared pornographic content and made unsolicited and unwanted sexual advances.
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Another employee, a reporter for Mavs.com, was found to have committed two acts of domestic violence. One of the incidents was against another team employee, the league said in their statement.
The NBA said Cuban — who bought the Mavericks in 2000 for $285 million — was never made aware of the hostile work environment within his organization, but held him responsible for what transpired.
“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,” Silver said. “But as Mark has acknowledged, he is ultimately responsible for the culture and conduct of his employees.”