by Jarod Hamilton
On February 21, it was reported by Sports Illustrated that the former President and CEO of the Dallas Mavericks, Terdema Ussery, who served as CEO from 1997-2015 was at the forefront of a sexual misconduct investigation. This means that sexual misconduct was even taking place during and after the Mavericks Championship run in 2011.
At the same time it was reported that Mark Cuban had allowed Earl K. Sneed to stay on as a Mavericks reporter after two domestic violence incidents, with one instance resulting in Sneed being arrested at a Mavericks facility. Cuban claims to not have known about the arrest at the facility but has said that he admittedly made a mistake by letting Sneed remain on the staff.
In the piece it was stated that the once popular upstart Ussery was investigated in 1998 for complaints of misconduct two years before current owner Mark Cuban purchased the team. Women have feared of speaking out too much against the former President/CEO because of fear of termination.
Adam Silver announced on February 23, 2018 that the NBA will unveil hotlines so that employees of NBA teams can voice concerns of improper treatment by the team. Silver hopes to propose this new hotline as a solution.
This once again brought up questions about sexual misconduct in the workplace and sexual misconduct in general. A freshman student at North Carolina A&T, Ariana Payne, who has experienced sexual misconduct was asked about what a university should do in the aftermath of a sexual misconduct case.
“I feel like the university tries as much they can to enforce that its unacceptable and they try to get you to talk to counselors and they have meetings and programs but it doesn’t feel like enough,” said Payne. “More men and women’s workshops are necessary because it’s not just women who get sexually harassed on campus. Try introducing things like plays, something that can get the point across to the audience, where they could possibly use people from those workshops to act out situations.”
When asked about how students should handle having been harassed or abused, Payne responded, “ Students that have been abused or harassed should talk to someone like a counselor as soon as possible. Some people believe that time heals all wounds but if you let something like this manifest you’re actually doing more damage to yourself then you know. You’re giving more time and energy mentally thinking about the situation when you could be using that energy to talk to a professional. Talking to friends may help the individual who was abused or harassed but it won’t spread awareness for the victims after them. On top of that talking to a professional will make you more likely to take their advice and act actively on them because they are paid to help people in situations like this. Friends who are around the same age as you and who may not be as well educated on the situation may not be able to help you positively or effectively.”
Only 20% of female students aged 18-24 report their sexual violence to law enforcement according to rainn.org.
The situation in the Mavericks organization has not only marred their franchise and season, it has shed a light on an issue in many workplace cultures that should be addressed immediately.