The Dallas Mavericks released a statement about an hour before an article in the popular magazine Sports Illustrated (SI) was published in which the team's work culture was described by a former employee as a “real-life Animal House”.
The article itself revolves around the misconduct of former team president and CEO Terdema Ussery. According to SI, several women have come forward accusing the former CEO of touching their legs inappropriately as well as requesting for sex. There have also been allegations that Ussery even proposed to end his marriage in hopes to seduce female employees.
Ussery began his tenure with the team before current owner Mark Cuban took over the Mavericks in 2000. However, Ussery became a subject of a different investigation after several female employees filed formal complaints in 1998. And despite the complaints lodged against Ussery, his contract was still renewed and he stayed with the Mavericks until 2015.
In a statement, the Mavericks said
It has been alleged that a former officer of the organization engaged in various acts of inappropriate conduct toward women over a period of years. This individual left the employment of the Mavericks nearly three years ago and the Mavericks have only learned of the scope of these complaints in the past days. The Mavericks organization takes these allegations extremely seriously
How much of the blame does Mark Cuban need to take?
When Mark Cuban was asked about the allegations, Cuban stated that this is not a situation that the Mavericks condone. Cuban goes on to say that in the light of the #MeToo controversies, he asked his head of human resources if the organization had anything to worry about and he was told repeatedly that everything was good with the Mavericks.
In response to the story being published, Cuban stated that he has recently fired Buddy Pittman who was the team's vice president of human resources. In response to the allegations that his organization's culture is comparable to “Animal House” Cuban stated that he had no idea that things like this happened under his nose. Cuban goes on to say that he is truly embarrassed about the situation and that he promises the fans and the NBA that he will fix what's going on.
The Mavericks have officially informed the NBA on Monday that they have been made aware of all of the allegations and that they will be carrying out their own investigation and have already hired an independent investigator. The NBA replied to the statement made by the team by saying that they will be looking closely at the Mavericks in regards to the investigations.