Mark Cuban fires 2 Mavericks employees after report details allegations of a 'hostile work environment' including sexual harassment and domestic violence

  • A report from Sports Illustrated details allegations of a "hostile work environment" within the Dallas Mavericks organization.
  • The allegations include years of inappropriate behavior by the team's former president and CEO, and accusations that the head of human resources did little when women complained.
  • The report also details allegations of domestic violence made against the team's in-house beat writer, who was allowed to remain employed after he was accused of hitting a fellow Mavs employee he was dating.
  • Mark Cuban fired the team's head of HR and the beat writer after learning of the SI report.


Mark Cuban has fired the Dallas Mavericks' head of human resources and in-house beat writer in response to a report from Sports Illustrated that details allegations of a "hostile work environment" and "real life 'Animal House.'"

SI interviewed more than a dozen former and current Mavericks employees. According to the report, those interviews painted a picture of "a corporate culture rife with misogyny and predatory sexual behavior; alleged public fondling by the team president; outright domestic assault by a high-profile member of the Mavs.com staff; unsupportive or even intimidating responses from superiors who heard complaints of inappropriate behavior from their employees; even an employee who openly watched pornography at his desk. "

The majority of the allegations are directed at the Mavericks' former team president and CEO Terdema Ussery, who left the team in 2015.

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HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 5: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban prior to the game against the Houston Rockets on December 5, 2000 at Compaq Center in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 5: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban prior to the game against the Houston Rockets on December 5, 2000 at Compaq Center in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 5: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban prior to the game against the Houston Rockets on December 5, 2000 at Compaq Center in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 5: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban greets Hakeem Olajuwon of the Houston Rockets prior to the game on December 5, 2000 at Compaq Center in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images)
DALLAS - 2001: (L-R) Dirk Nowitzki #41, Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban and Michael Finley #4 of the Dallas Mavericks pose for a portrait circa 2001 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2001 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
DALLAS, UNITED STATES: Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban celebrates a Mavericks' three-point play to end the first half of play versus the Boston Celtics at Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas, 22 February 2001. AFP PHOTO/Paul BUCK (Photo credit should read PAUL BUCK/AFP/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 17: Owner Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks during the game against the Charlotte Hornets on January 17, 2001 at Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 2039 -- Pictured: (l-r) American businessman Mark Cuban during an interview with host Jay Leno on April 17, 2001 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
DALLAS, UNITED STATES: Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban applauds during game action versus the Utah Jazz at Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas 28 April 2001. The Mavericks beat the Jazz 94-91 to force game four in their Western Conference first round playoff series. AFP PHOTO/Paul BUCK (Photo credit should read PAUL BUCK/AFP/Getty Images)
DALLAS, UNITED STATES: Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban (R) high-fives fans after the Mavericks beat the San Antonio Spurs at Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas, 12 May 2001. The Mavericks avoided the sweep with a 112-108 victory in the best of seven Western Conference semifinal playoffs. AFP PHOTO/Paul BUCK (Photo credit should read PAUL BUCK/AFP/Getty Images)
4 Apr 2002: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban cheers for his team during the NBA game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The Mavs won, 115-90. \ NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. \ Mandatory copyright notice: Copyright 2002 NBAE \ Mandatory Credit: Glenn James/NBAE/Getty Images
SACRAMENTO - MAY 6: Owner Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks shakes hands with NBC broadcaster Bill Walton before the Western Conference Semi-final game against the Sacramento Kings at Arco Arena in Sacramento, California on May 6, 2002. The Mavericks won 110-102. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice: Copyright 2002 NBAE (Photo by: Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images)
DALLAS - NOVEMBER 6: Team owner Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks looks on while Dallas faces the Memphis Grizzlies November 6, 2004 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Madatory Copyright: Copyright 2004 NBAE (Photo By Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 28: Warner Indepentents' Mark Gill (L), actress Keira Knightley and exec. producer Mark Cuban pose at the after-party for the premiere of Warner Independent Pictures' 'The Jacket' at Falcon on February 28, 2005 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
DALLAS - DECEMBER 30: Owner Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks watches the game against the Golden State Warriors at American Airlines Arena on December 30, 2005 in Dallas, Texas. The Warriors won 111-109. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2005 NBAE (Photo by Tim Heitman/NBAE via Getty Images)
DALLAS - MAY 15: Owner Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks speaks with Chris Bosh before the game against the San Antonio Spurs in game four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2006 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center on May 15, 2006 in Dallas, Texas. The Mavericks won 123-118. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2006 NBAE (Photo By Tim Heitman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban stands behind the Dallas bench in the opening minutes against the New York Knicks during their NBA game February 24, 2014 at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Mavericks won, 110-108. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 17: Owner Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks looks on during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on January 17, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Mavericks defeated the Suns 110-107. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, speaks with members of the media as he exits federal court in Dallas, Texas, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. Cuban said he doesn't recall details of a conversation in which he was allegedly warned that information he received about a company was confidential. Photographer: Mike Fuentes/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, left, exits federal court in Dallas, Texas, U.S., on Monday, Sept. 30, 2013. Cuban goes to trial over regulators' claims he engaged in insider trading when he sold his stake in a Canadian Internet search company nine years ago. Photographer: Ben Torres/Bloomberg via Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24: TV personality Mark Cuban attends the 2013 American Music Awards Powered by Dodge at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 24, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/AMA2013/Getty Images for Dodge)
The Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant (24) is hugged Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban after the Mavs' 90-82 win at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. (Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA,PA - NOVEMBER 16: Owner of the Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban looks on against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center on November 16, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 16: Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, looks on prior to the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on November 16, 2015 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES CA - OCTOBER 29: Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, follows the action from behind the bench during the third quarter of the basketball game against Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center October 29, 2015, in Los Angeles California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Mark Cuban, Investor, Entrepreneur and Owner, Dallas Mavericks, offers his critique to finalists at the Global Startup Showcase, as one of four judges at 2015 WSJD Live on October 20, 2015 in Laguna Beach, California. WSJ D Live brings together top CEOs, founders, pioneers, investors and luminaries to explore the most exciting tech opportunities emerging around the world. AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the National Basketball Association's (NBA) Dallas Mavericks basketball team, left, and his wife Tiffany Cuban arrive at a state dinner in honor of Chinese President Xi Jinping at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. The U.S. and China announced agreement on broad anti-hacking principles aimed at stopping the theft of corporate trade secrets though President Barack Obama pointedly said he has not ruled out invoking sanctions for violators. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the National Basketball Association's (NBA) Dallas Mavericks basketball team, left, and his wife Tiffany Cuban arrive at a state dinner in honor of Chinese President Xi Jinping at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. The U.S. and China announced agreement on broad anti-hacking principles aimed at stopping the theft of corporate trade secrets though President Barack Obama pointedly said he has not ruled out invoking sanctions for violators. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
SHARK TANK - Lori Greiner, Mark Cuban, Daymond John, Barbara Corcoran, Robert Herjavec and Kevin O'Leary is a 'Shark' on ABC's 'Shark Tank.' (Photo by Bob D'Amico/ABC via Getty Images)
SHARK TANK - Mark Cuban is a 'Shark' on ABC's 'Shark Tank.' (Photo by Bob D'Amico/ABC via Getty Images)
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Two women told SI that "Ussery harassed them for years" and that incidents ranged from "inappropriate remarks to requests for sex to touching women’s calves and thighs during meetings."

According to the report, the women informed Buddy Pittman, the head of human resources, "countless times."

Pittman was fired by Cuban on Monday after the Mavericks owners learned of the allegations, according to SI.

Another woman, who recorded incidents of misconduct over a period of years, told SI she complained to her boss about Ussery. She alleges that her boss told her to "shut up and do [your] job," and told her to "just take" the abuse from Ussery.

After Ussery left the Mavs, he was hired by Under Armour as their president for global sports. He resigned from that position after less than two months. Multiple sources told SI that the resignation came after an allegation of sexual harassment.

The other employee fired by the Mavs was the team's official beat writer, Earl K. Sneed.

According to SI, Sneed pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of family violence assault following an incident with a girlfriend in 2012. Sneed was arrested at the team offices according to SI. Sneed continued to work with the Mavs.

In 2014, Sneed was dating a fellow Mavs employee. Several sources alleged that "the couple had a dispute and Sneed turned violent, hitting the woman," leaving her with bruises and a swollen face. Pittman remained with the Mavericks until this week when he was fired by Cuban, according to SI.

The Mavericks released a statement on Tuesday saying they take the allegations "extremely seriously."

"Yesterday we notified the league office and immediately hired outside counsel to conduct a thorough and independent investigation. The investigation will focus on the specific allegations related to this former employee, and will look more broadly at our company’s workplace practices and policies. In addition, an employee whose job was to receive and investigate such complaints and report them accurately and fully, has been suspended pending the conclusion of our investigation."

When Cuban was reached by SI, he denied having any knowledge of a "hostile work environment," noting that his day-to-day involvement with the team is typically limited to basketball operations.

"I was involved in basketball operations, but other than getting the financials and reports, I was not involved in the day to day [of the business side] at all," Cuban told SI. "That’s why I just deferred. I let people do their jobs. And if there were anything like this at all I was supposed to be made aware, obviously I was not."

Cuban also told SI that he was embarrassed by the allegations and vowed to fix it.

"I want to deal with this issue," Cuban told SI. "I mean, this is, obviously there’s a problem in the Mavericks organization and we’ve got to fix it. That’s it. And we’re going to take every step. It’s not something we tolerate. I don’t want it. It’s not something that’s acceptable. I’m embarrassed, to be honest with you, that it happened under my ownership, and it needs to be fixed. Period. End of story."

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