DALLAS - Sports Illustrated released a report Tuesday night alleging former Dallas Mavericks President and CEO Terdema Ussery of sexually harassing employees in the workplace for years.
The sports website quotes the Mavs culture as being "a real-life Animal House," detailing a workplace rife with predatory sexual behavior. The article quotes anonymous female sources who say that Ussery harrassed them. It also details multiple allegations of assault by a Mavs.com staff writer, Earl K. Sneed. The magazine spoke to more than a dozen current and former employees.
Multiple women told SI that Ussery harassed them while they worked for the Mavs. Allegations ranged from being propositioned by Ussery for sex, inappropriate touching and lewd comments.
The Mavericks say they have notified the league office and have hired outside counsel to conduct an independent investigation.
The organization said in a statement it only received information about the inappropriate behavior made by the unnamed former employee only in the past days and takes the allegations very seriously.
Ussery left the Dallas Mavericks nearly three years ago on good terms, but quickly lost a job with Under Armour after an allegation of sexual harassment, SI reported. Ussery denied the allegations against him in a statement to SI.
The team also says in a separate matter, they learned that an employee misled the organization about a prior domestic violence incident and that employee has been terminated. The Mavericks were referring to Mavs.com writer Sneed, who was involved in a domestic dispute with a girlfriend during the 2010-11 season that left her with bruises over her body and a fractured wrist. In 2014, he was involved in another incident with a different woman. She also was injured and showed up to work with a swollen face, SI reported.
“There is no room for such conduct in the Mavericks' workplace or any workplace,” the team said. “The Mavericks will provide all necessary resources to ensure that every current and former employee receives appropriate support. We will also conduct comprehensive training through experts and take the necessary steps to ensure that our workplace is a safe, respectful and productive one for all Dallas Mavericks employees.”
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told SI he had no idea of the allegations against Ussery or Sneed. SI reported that the team has also fired its director of human resources, who some of the victims claimed ignored or downplayed their allegations.
“It’s wrong. It’s abhorrent. It’s not a situation we condone. I can’t tell you how many times, particularly since all this [#MeToo] stuff has been coming out recently I asked our HR director, ‘Do we have a problem? Do we have any issues I have to be aware of?’ And the answer was no," Cuban told SI.
The NBA said in a statement: "This alleged conduct runs counter to the steadfast commitment of the NBA and its teams to foster safe, respectful and welcoming workplaces for all employees. Such behavior is completely unacceptable and we will closely monitor the independent investigation into this matter."