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Mavericks owner Mark Cuban donates $10M after workplace probe

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban stands on stage before

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban stands on stage before a news conference in Dallas on Feb. 26. Credit: AP/Ron Jenkins

Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, has agreed to donate $10 million to women’s groups after a seven-month independent investigation of the team found “numerous instances of sexual harassment” according to a statement released Wednesday by the NBA.

The investigation, led by former New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram, was commissioned in February shortly after a Sports Illustrated story detailed a corrosive workplace environment that included sexual harassment, domestic violence and inappropriate workplace behavior. 

That investigation, which included interviews with 215 current and former Mavericks employees, resulted in a 43-page report that also was released on Wednesday.

“This investigation has substantiated numerous instances of sexual harassment and other improper workplace conduct within the Mavericks organization over a period spanning almost twenty years,” the report said.

Under its bylaws, the largest fine the NBA can levy is $2.5 million dollars. In the wake of the report, Cuban agreed to make the $10-million donation to organizations that help those impacted by family violence and organizations that support the leadership and development of women in the sports industry.

The Mavericks also will be required to give the NBA’s league office quarterly reports that detail their progress in fulfilling recommendations included in the report. Among the recommendations: The Mavericks need to hire more women in leadership roles, they need to clarify what role Cuban plays in the organization and implement a training program for all staff on issues relating to domestic violence, sexual assault and sexual harassment.

“The findings of the independent investigation are disturbing and heartbreaking and no employee in the NBA, or any workplace for that matter, should be subject to the type of working environment described in the report,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement released by the NBA on Wednesday. “We appreciate that Mark Cuban reacted swiftly, thoroughly and transparently to the allegations first set forth in Sports Illustrated— including the immediate hiring of Cynthia Marshall as CEO to effect change, but as Mark has acknowledged, he is ultimately responsible for the culture and conduct of his employees.”

The league did not levy any kind of suspension for Cuban nor was his team hit with a basketball related penalty. That makes it significantly less harsh than how the league treated former Clippers owner Donald Sterling after an audiotape of him making racist comments was published in 2014. Sterling was banned for life from the league and ultimately was forced to sell the team.

Cuban said in an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols Wednesday that he and Silver never discussed the possibility of selling the team and it is something he never considered throughout the course of the investigation.

Cuban apologized and said he had missed opportunities to correct the culture of his organization.

“This is not something that just is an incident and then it’s over,” Cuban said. “It stays with people. It stays with families. I’m just sorry to see it. I’m just sorry I didn’t recognize it, and I just hope that out of this we’ll be better, and we can avoid it, and we can help everybody just be smarter about the whole thing.”

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