Last month, Sports Illustrated published an investigation into the “corrosive” workplace culture of the business side of the Dallas Mavericks. Among other things, the report detailed accusations of sexual harassment against former CEO Terdema Ussery and inaction on the part of Mavericks HR from current and former female employees, all of whom spoke anonymously.
On Tuesday, SI published an op-ed from Melissa Weishaupt, one of those sources who decided to share her name because she is “still not sure the Mavericks get it.” From the article:
I am using my name because I am convinced that Cuban still doesn’t recognize the culture he’s helped create or the plight of the women who still work for him. From where I sit, Mark’s response was to rush in like some white knight in a T-shirt and jeans and yell, Don’t worry, ladies of the Mavs, I will help you with paid counseling and a hotline you can call!
Weishaupt shares a number of her motivations for speaking out, but her primary reason is to call out Mark Cuban and management for their inadequate response to these allegations.
In the original SI article, Cuban promised he would take concrete steps to repair the organization’s culture. However, the only two specific steps he mentioned, establishing a sexual harassment hotline and providing “support services” for former and current employees, haven’t seemed to have materialized.
According to Weishaupt, none of the “dozen” current and former employees she’s reached out to have any idea how to reach the promised hotline, nor does she. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, but it does mean that the team hasn’t been very successful at making it available to those who might need it. (The NBA set up its own hotline to report misconduct and workplace concerns after the release of the SI story.)
Unfortunately, this is a common thread. Nothing that’s come to light since the investigation was published is particularly encouraging, from Cuban’s initial excuse that he didn’t know to his comments following his own sexual assault allegation.
The organization did bring on a new interim CEO, Cynthia Marshall, who is tasked with reforming the business side’s workplace culture. As she noted in her initial press conference, “it takes a village” to truly transform such a toxic environment. But if the organization still hasn’t made the relatively simple small steps it promised early, how can they make the bigger, more difficult ones ahead?