The Dallas Mavericks are currently dealing with allegations of sexual harassment and abuse. Former president and CEO Terdema Ussery has now been accused of “multiple incidents of inappropriate behavior toward female employees” [via RealGM].
Press coverage began on February 20, when the Mavericks released the following cryptic statement on their website:
“The Dallas Mavericks have received information about behavior in our workplace that appears to have violated the organization’s standards of conduct. 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… The Mavericks organization takes these allegations extremely seriously. Yesterday we notified the league office and immediately hired outside counsel to conduct a thorough and independent investigation…In a separate matter, we have also learned that an employee misled the organization about a prior domestic violence incident. This employee was not candid about the situation and has been terminated.”
The article states: “A half-dozen female former Mavericks or American Airlines Center employees contacted by SI claim that they left the sports sector because of a work environment and structure that left them feeling vulnerable and devalued while protecting—and continuing to employ—powerful men who misbehaved.”
It also outlines allegations of abuse aimed at former Mavs.com beat writer Earl K. Sneed. While the team has yet to figure out how best to deal with all of this moving forward, owner Mark Cuban was quite frank while talking with SI:
“There’s a problem in the Mavericks organization and we’ve got to fix it. That’s it. And we’re going to take every step. It’s not something we tolerate… I’m embarrassed, to be honest with you, that it happened under my ownership, and it needs to be fixed. Period.”
[Photo via Flickr user Michael Tipton]