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Mavs owner Mark Cuban faces no punishment after investigation, promises $10 million to women's orgs

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban issued a public apology to the women who suffered abuse within the Mavericks organization. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

An independent investigation confirmed the allegations of sexual harassment and domestic violence inside the Dallas Mavericks' corporate environment, according to the report released Wednesday.

Despite the findings, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban will face no punishment from the NBA. The billionaire has pledged to donate $10 million to domestic violence organizations.

"First, just an apology to the women involved," Cuban told ESPN following the report. "... This is not something that just is an incident and then it's over. It stays with people. It stays with families. And I'm just sorry I didn't see it. I'm just sorry I didn't recognize it."

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called the findings "disturbing and heartbreaking" in a statement released Wednesday.

“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,” Silver said in the statement.

An outside law firm spoke to 215 current and former employees during the investigation. The investigation was prompted by a Sports Illustrated exposé published in February.

What were the key findings?

"The investigation substantiated numerous instances of sexual harassment and other improper workplace conduct within the Mavericks organization over a period spanning more than twenty years," the NBA said in a release issued on Wednesday.

It found improper workplace conduct toward 15 women by the former Mavericks President and CEO Terdema Ussery. The improper behavior included inappropriate comments, touching, and forcible kissing.

Former Mavericks ticket sales employee Chris Hyde was found to have made unsolicited sexual advances and comments toward women, viewing and sharing pornographic images and videos, along with violent behavior toward co-workers.

And former Mavs.com reporter Earl Sneed committed acts of domestic violence, including one against a team employee.

Did Cuban know what was going on?

Investigators found no evidence that Cuban was aware of Ussery's misconduct, the report showed.

Cuban told ESPN that he didn't know what was going on in the organization's business office.

"I mean, I didn't know, and I don't have an explanation. You know I can give you lots of reasons, but they don't matter. It was my responsibility, and I have to be accountable for it," he said.

But Cuban is known for being a hands-on businessman, which has made it hard for some to understand how he failed to see the hostile work environment that the accusers described to Sports Illustrated and to the investigators.

"In hindsight, it was staring me right in the face, and I missed it. I wasn't as focused on the business as I should've been. You know when I talk about being actively involved, I could tell you every salary of everybody, every NBA player over the last 15 years," Cuban told ESPN. "I would talk to Rick and our coaches over the years, and be there at practices, and be there on the basketball side, day in, day out, live it. If I was in our business office five times in 15 years, that was a lot, you know. It's embarrassing to say. There were people who I just hadn't met and hadn't talked to."

The report also stated that Cuban cooperated fully with the investigation.

What else did Silver say?

“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,” Silver said in the statement.

“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.

"While nothing will undo the harm caused by a select few former employees of the Mavericks, the workplace reforms and the $10 million that Mark has agreed to contribute are important steps toward rectifying this past behavior and shining a light on a pervasive societal failing — the inability of too many organizations to provide a safe and welcoming workplace for women.”

What else?

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said the NBA should have banned Cuban for six months, according to USA Today.

"Mark Cuban should have been suspended for half the season. He should have been banned from NBA games. He should have been banned from the business of basketball. Banned from an association with the game of basketball for six months. And the Dallas Mavericks should have [lost] a first-round draft pick," Smith said.

One last thing…
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