An initiative by Dallas Mavericks new CEO Cynthia Marshall is off to a rocky start after the Dallas Police Department canceled the kick-off event scheduled with them Wednesday morning.
The new CEO was hired to repair the organizations image after a sexual harassment scandal. She has offended many officers with her new foundation she says is supposed to promote unity.
It all started with an internal email sent to Dallas officers announcing breakfast at headquarters provided by Marshall.
The breakfast was kicking off Marshall’s personal effort #bb725, an initiative on July 25 to unite black and blue. A post, since deleted from the Dallas Mavericks website, says the initiative was “an all-out grassroots effort to promote unity between communities and law enforcements.”
Former Chief David Brown helped promote it before the invitation went out to police rank and file.
What upset officers was the wording of Marshall’s invitation. It said the initiative was highlighting those who died on July 5, saying "2 died because they were black. 5 died because they wore blue.”
The two was referring to Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. The five was referring to officers killed in the Downtown Dallas ambush. That ambush was launched by Micah Johnson. He told police when they had him surrounded that he wanted to kill white officers as payback for the sterling and castile police shootings.
“You have a lot of officers that are upset, especially because of the message being responsible for killing two black males,” said George Aranda with the Dallas National Latino Law Enforcement Organization.
A follow up email from the department recognized the backlash brewing among the rank and file. It said "made the mistake of not recognizing how offensive the content may come across to some of our brothers in blue."
In a tweet, the NLLLO encouraged members to boycott the event and called it a "horrible statement."
The department's next internal email Wednesday morning canceled the event. A Mavs spokesperson says #bb725 is Marshall’s own personal initiative and that's why the story was removed from the website.
The spokesperson didn't comment further However, FOX 4 caught up with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban as he left the Frank Crowley courthouse after jury duty.
“Cynt is always doing the right thing and trying to help people,” he said. “You know even when some people try to introduce politics, that's still okay.”
Cuban says he didn't know all the details about reasons the event was canceled, but he pointed out former Dallas Police Chief David Brown is a consultant for the Mavs. He says he's hopeful the initiative will be a good thing in the long haul.
“When someone tries to do the right thing for the right reasons, even when there's controversy, usually it turns out pretty well,” Cuban said.
“If that’s her views on the way African Americans were treated, then I think we started out on the wrong foot,” Aranda said. “But she’s more than welcome to contact us and sit down and have a positive dialogue, but it’s going take some building.”
Even though the Mavs website had said Marshall would make a $7,250 donation to the Dallas Police Youth Foundation, the money and breakfast meant for officers Wednesday morning instead went to the Boys and Girls Club of East Dallas.