Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban will donate $10 million to groups helping victims of domestic violence and to hire women in sports leadership roles, after an independent investigation found that his organization suffered from a “disturbing” work culture, the NBA said in a statement on Wednesday.
The investigation, led by ex-New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram, found “numerous instances of sexual harassment and other improper workplace conduct” by current and former Mavs employees. Fifteen women in the organization were harassed by former Mavs CEO Terdema Ussery, including “inappropriate comments, touching, and forcible kissing,” according to the report.
The investigation concluded seven months after several former employees told Sports Illustrated the organization suffered from a toxic work environment — with sexual harassment and domestic violence being an “open secret.”
“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,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “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.”
The investigation concluded after more than 200 interviews and a review of 1.6 million team documents. It also found former sales worker Chris Hyde made comments of a “sexual nature” to female employees and showed them porn. More disturbingly, the investigation found two instances of domestic violence perpetrated by former Mavs.com reporter Earl K. Sneed, including one incident against another team employee.
Cuban told ESPN in February he regretted keeping Sneed on staff after two “gruesome” domestic violence incidents, including one in which Sneed was arrested at the team’s office in 2011.
“There is no room for such conduct in the Mavericks’ workplace — or any workplace,” the Mavs said in February statement.
The team conducted an internal review of Ussery’s actions in 1998, after multiple women accused him of inappropriate behavior, but ultimately kept him with the team for several more years, according to the investigation. Cuban, who purchased the team in 2000, did not make a comment on Wednesday.
Aside from hiring Marshall as its CEO, the Mavs replaced several executives following the SI report, the NBA said on Wednesday.