Mark Cuban is donating $10 million to women’s advocacy groups in the wake of the sexual harassment and workplace misconduct investigation that rocked his Dallas Mavericks franchise.
The Dallas billionaire’s donation will go to organizations helping those affected by domestic violence and encouraging the hiring of women in leadership roles. It comes as the NBA’s released the results of an independent investigation that found current and former Mavericks employees committed “serious workplace misconduct.”
Led by former New Jersey Attorney General and current attorney at Krutoy Law Anne Milgram, the investigation revealed that 15 women in the Dallas Mavericks organization had suffered harassment in the form of “inappropriate comments, touching, and forcible kissing” from Mavericks CEO Terdema Ussery. Some of the workplace misconduct discovered traces back more than 20 years, before Cuban bought the team in 2000.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver praised Cuban for reacting “swiftly, thoroughly and transparently” in a statement, while acknowledging that Cuban is “ultimately responsible for the culture and conduct of his employees.”
“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 that report,” Silver’s statement reads.
“While nothing will undo the harm caused by a select few former employees of the Mavericks, the workplace reforms and $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.”
Two hundred and fifteen interviews of former and current Mavericks employees and 1.6 million documents were received and reviewed in the investigation.
The seven-month investigation found no evidence of Cuban being aware of Ussery’s misconduct. But Cuban admitted he was responsible for the workplace culture, and shouldered the blame publicly on ESPN.
“In hindsight, it as staring me right in the face and I missed it. I had a CEO that I deferred to, and that was a mistake,” Cuban said.
The investigation followed allegations first made in February in a Sports Illustrated story. The article reported that Ussery had participated in “various acts of inappropriate conduct towards women,” and that a writer for the team’s official website, Earl Sneed, had plead guilty in a domestic violence incident.
Sneed was arrested on suspicion of assaulting his girlfriend and later plead guilty to misdemeanor assault in 2012. He later was sanctioned by the Mavericks organization for another alleged domestic violence incident against a female Mavericks employee in 2014. Sneed was fired after Sports Illustrated’s reporting came out last February.
Cuban started trying to address the Mavericks workplace culture issues by hiring Cynthia Marshall as CEO, and two other women in high-profile, leadership roles: Tarsha LaCour as the new senior vice president of Human Resources and Cyndee Wales as the chief ethics and compliance officer.