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Deadspin report offers more details into the Mavericks’ toxic work environment

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A new report shines additional light on the Mavericks’ failure to create a safe working space for women.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

A new report from Deadspin dropped Friday morning, offering additional details about the Mavericks’ troubling workplace environment. In the report, Deadspin got some more information about the toxic culture that was detailed in a Sports Illustrated report a month ago.

The gist of the new report is that the horrible culture the Mavericks fostered extended everywhere and seemingly no woman was safe from harassment.

One former employee told me that wearing a form-fitting dress could lead to comments like, “Who are you going to try to lay tonight?” or, “Who’s going to bend you over?” The same employee recalled she and her friends being told, “You guys are too hot and too gorgeous to be so single” and, “What are you doing during the summer? Just a book club? Don’t you have a guy out there begging to pull your hair?”

When I asked which vice presidents made those comments, she answered, “This could have come from any of them. It’s just that’s the kind of talk that would happen. This is like talking shop for them.”

Some of the stories, like the employee who openly watched porn at his desk, were detailed in the SI report. There are new ones, though, like a story from current and former employees that a used condom was found outside a bathroom. Employees were also often subjected to loud verbal abuse from the heads of tickets sales, although that story may be unsurprising to anyone familiar with the culture of sales.

When it came to Earl Sneed, the employee the Mavericks allowed to continue working after being arrested and charged for domestic abuse back in 2012, Deadspin said female employees were more than aware of the message that sent to the women in the workplace.

But the message his favorable treatment sent to female employees who were being yelled at, subjected to sexual harassment, and trying to ignore the man watching porn at the office seemed impossible to ignore.

“They are just there to protect the men,” one former employee said, “and they don’t give a shit about the women at all.”

That’s why it was important to call out the local media for their embarrassing coverage of the incident, particularly that of Sneed’s case. There’s no room in this story for PR for convicted domestic abusers, and it’s clear Sneed’s continued employment with the Mavericks after his arrest fit right in with the Mavericks culture at the time. Deadspin even got Sneed to comment and he still hasn’t apologized. Here’s what he told Deadspin, referring to the woman he was charged for hitting:

“I wish her nothing but the best. I hope she finds whatever happiness she wants. I’m just trying to rebuild my life. I don’t have ill feelings toward her or anyone in the story.”

The story goes into what owner Mark Cuban could have known, since he has a reputation for being such a hands-on owner. The current and former employees interviewed said Cuban was rarely in the office and that all the people that reported to him about the goings-on were all people who were participating in the harassment, so it’s not like it would come up.

The report also makes an interesting note about George Prokos, one of the leaders in the sales department who current and former employees told Deadspin was harsh with verbal abuse:

As far back as 1999, the Dallas Morning News quoted Prokos about Cuban, describing Prokos as “a Dallas sales executive who has known Mr. Cuban since the early ’80s.” Prokos was dubbed Cuban’s “old friend” by 60 Minutes and SI, back in 2006, called him one of Cuban’s “ go-go-go buds.” The same SI article pointed out that Cuban installed several friends of his atop the organization, which leads to a natural question: Who would want to tell Cuban that one of his best friends was a bully overseeing an abusive environment? And if that person did, what were the chances they wouldn’t get fired?

Deadspin also spoke with the Mavericks’ new CEO Cynthia Marshall, who has been tasked with cleaning up the culture. To her credit, she answered Deadspin’s questions promptly and appears to be doing what she can to undo the damage of the last two decades.

“We owe it to these women who spoke up to address this properly and change the culture,” she said. “We owe it to them. We owe it to all of them.”

In a separate phone call, after Weishaupt’s statement came out, Marshall said she applauded Weishaupt for speaking out with her name, expects more stories to come, and doesn’t care whether they come out because people speak to the investigators or because they speak to reporters.

“I want to hear all the stories. I don’t care if they come out in the newspaper or in the investigation,” she told me. “The only way we can clean house is if we hear all the stories.”

Hopefully Marshall can do the job, but as the report notes, it’ll take a long time to clean up so much filth. This probably won’t be the last story that comes out, and hopefully the Mavericks take each of them seriously.