Mark Cuban has admitted that it was a “horrible mistake” to continue employing a former staffer despite multiple accusations of domestic violence, and the Dallas Mavericks owner said Wednesday that it was entirely his decision.
Mavs.com reporter Earl K. Sneed was fired on Tuesday following the publication of a Sports Illustrated report documenting a “corrosive workplace culture” at the organization — including two accusations of assault against Sneed that his employers failed to act on.
“I want to be clear, I’m not putting the blame on anybody else,” Cuban said, taking responsibility in an interview with ESPN on Wednesday. “It came down to my final decision that I made.”
According to Sports Illustrated, Sneed pleaded guilty to assaulting a girlfriend in 2012 and was sentenced to community service, mandatory anger management and a $750 fine. The Mavericks didn’t dismiss after the incident, and in 2014, Sneed was accused of hitting his then-girlfriend, a coworker.
“I made the decision, it was my decision and again, in hindsight, I would probably do it differently,” Cuban told ESPN, explaining that Sneed’s continued employment came with the conditions of domestic abuse counseling and limits on his relationship with female colleagues.
“I didn’t realize [at the time] the impact that it would have on the workplace and on the women that worked here and how it sent a message to them that, if it was OK for Earl to do that, who knows what else is OK in the workplace?” he continued. “I missed that completely.”
Prior to Cuban’s rebuke, Sneed issued a statement admitting to the two incidents, expressing gratitude to Cuban and the Mavericks human resources director for allowing him to stay on and forcing him into counseling. “I thank Buddy Pittman for helping me to grow during that time, and I thank Mark Cuban for his willingness to help facilitate that growth,” he said.
In response to the broader culture documented in the Sports Illustrated investigation, Cuban denied any knowledge, saying he does not have “any tolerance” for the behavior described.
“I deferred to the CEO, who at the time was Terdema, and to HR … I let people do their jobs. And if there were anything like this at all I was supposed to be made aware, obviously I was not,” Cuban told the magazine.