After a months-long investigation into the sexual misconduct taking place throughout the Dallas Mavericks organization, Sports Illustrated published their findings exposing former president of the team, Terdema Ussery. Ussery was president of the Mavericks for 18 years, and has been accused of multiple accounts of predatory and sexual behavior.
One woman who worked for the Mavericks was told when she took the job to watch out for the president. “Whatever you do, don’t get trapped in an elevator with him.”
Another woman shared that Ussery’s behavior was one of the reasons she was quitting her sales job after more than a decade.
“It was a real life Animal House,” says one former organization employee who left recently after spending five years with the Dallas Mavericks organization. “And I only say ‘was’ because I’m not there anymore.”
In the summer of 1998, the Mavericks conducted an internal investigation of Ussery after several female employees made complaints of inappropriate workplace behavior. But Ussery continued to remain employed when Mark Cuban took over the franchise in 2000.
Ussery is quoted as saying :
“During my nearly 20 year tenure with the Mavericks, I am not aware of any sexual harassment complaints about me or any findings by the organization that I engaged in inappropriate conduct. In fact, on multiple occasions I and other senior executives at the organization raised concerns—both in person and in emails—about other Mavericks employees who had engaged in highly inappropriate—and in some cases, threatening—sexual conduct. The organization refused to address these concerns, and I believe these misleading claims about me are part of an attempt to shift blame for the failure to remove employees who created an uncomfortable and hostile work environment within the Mavericks organization.”
Mark Cuban was quoted as saying he was unaware of what was going on, and that the claims on Ussery were all new to him.
Some find it hard to imagine that Cuban is unaware of the abusive culture throughout the organization. “Trust me, Mark knows everything that goes on,” says one longtime former Mavericks employee. “Of course Mark knew [about the instances of harassment and assault]. Everyone knew.”
“I want to deal with this issue,” Cuban told Sports Illustrated . “I mean, this is, obviously 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 don’t want it. It’s not something that’s acceptable. I’m embarrassed, to be honest with you, that it happened under my ownership, and it needs to be fixed. Period. End of story.”
The Dallas Mavericks said they will not make further comment until the completion of the independent investigation.