This upcoming Wednesday will mark the one-year anniversary of the bombshell Sports Illustrated report that detailed the sexual harassment and improper conduct that allegedly took place within the Dallas Mavericks organization.
While NBA commissioner Adam Silver has praised the organization and owner Mark Cuban for changing the entire culture of the team, Cuban might have to provide testimony related to the allegations that have already been made.
Rogge Dunn, the attorney for a former employee of the American Airlines Center, where the Mavericks play, is looking to depose Cuban as part of a discrimination lawsuit.
The former employee in question is Michelle Newsome, who claims she was fired in March 2017 due to her race and gender, as well as her complaints over the AAC’s workplace culture.
During a court hearing Friday regarding the possibility of Cuban being deposed, AAC employee Tony Cooper testified that in 2011, he found a hangman’s noose in the building and told Cuban about it, KDFW reported.
“I walked into the IT closet. Hanging from the conduit was a noose,” Cooper said, noting that the IT closet was across from Cuban’s suite.
“He looked at it, shook his head, rolled his eyes, walked over, took it down, walked out of the room through the door, and he threw it in the trash and went to his suite,” Cooper said.
Cooper claimed he then went to human resources, but says they were not helpful.
Dunn contends that Cuban showed a lack of concern regarding alleged racial discrimination that took place within his organization.
Newsome, meanwhile, says that despite her excellent sales numbers, Cuban constantly overlooked her for new leads and instead gave them to Chris Hyde, who was “at the center of the Mavericks front office sex harassment scandal,” according to KDFW.
“Mr. Cuban personally gave (Hyde) institutional leads, on a silver platter, and he never gave one of them to Ms. Michelle Newsome,” Dunn argued.
Cuban’s attorneys did not respond to the KDFW’s questions about the hearing. The judge said Cuban cannot yet be deposed, “citing a need to depose other figures closer to the alleged incident and present more evidence before such a deposition could be warranted,” NBCDFW reported. However, it’s possible the judge might grant the deposition request at a later date.
During a news conference on Saturday, Silver fielded questions about the organization’s progress over the last year.
“At least what was reported directly to me and through the organization is that it was a complete sea change in culture on the business side with the Mavericks, that (team CEO) Cynthia Marshall was getting the highest possible grades, along with the new senior management team that she brought in,” Silver told The Dallas Morning News.
“I think many employees, longtime employees there, felt somewhat liberated, while some felt still, honestly, a bit scarred,” he said. “That they thought systems, most importantly, had been put in place … to ensure that they don’t end up happening ever again in a situation like that.”
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