Lost in the excitement of a holiday weekend that featured not one, but two Game 7s in the NBA playoffs was a story that’s just as important to the landscape of the league as anything the Golden State Warriors or the Cleveland Cavaliers will do in the Finals.
Over the weekend, another story about how the vile and lewd culture that existed inside the Dallas Mavericks front office detailed why NBA Commissioner Adam Silver must address the issue and make an example out of team owner Mark Cuban.
According to the Dallas Morning News, a senior executive who was fired in 2014 named Chris Hyde would allegedly watch pornography in the office and “rub himself below his belt line.”
It’s also alleged that Hyde would pass around his phone to coworkers to show them pornographic images, garnering him the nickname “Pants DJ.”
He also once allegedly dropped a used condom on the floor in the office.
Hyde worked for the Mavericks for 15 years and reportedly kept his filthy behavior up for six of those years. It’s also been reported that he allegedly even brought in an external hard drive full of porn to work.
According to the report, Cuban knew about Hyde and the environment and culture that lived inside his organization. Apparently, it got so bad that employees stopped complaining to the human resources department because they felt management had just accepted the behavior as the norm.
Evidence that Cuban had knowledge of what was going on is contrary to what he said back in February after Sports Illustrated released its story that broke the news on the Mavericks front-office culture that included everything from sexual harassment to domestic violence.
According to the SI report from February, former team president and CEO Terdema Ussery allegedly used to terrorize female employees, while former Mavs.com writer Earl K. Sneed was able to keep his job despite two domestic violence incidents, one of which included the assault of a fellow co-worker.
“There was built-in protection for a lot of men,” a former male department head at American Airlines Center told Sports Illustrated. “The lack of oversight and compassion within all levels of the business was alarming.”
“You don’t feel safe going to work and it’s not long before you look for another job,” a female employee explained. “And then you wonder why there aren’t more women working in sports. Really?”
In the aftermath of the news, ESPN columnist Jemele Hill called for a no-tolerance message to be sent to Cuban by the NBA.
“The NBA must come down hard on Cuban, even though he hasn’t been directly implicated in anything. The Mavericks should be fined, Cuban needs to be suspended for all of next season and the team should have draft picks stripped — notice a plural was used — because of Cuban’s unfathomable, inexcusable negligence. The NBA needs to send a no-tolerance message, and not just some cute talking point,” she wrote.
“Cuban’s explanations as to how the Mavs arrived at this crisis point are so unbelievably ignorant and clueless that it’s impossible to be even the slightest bit sympathetic,” Hill continued.
The funny thing is, back in 2014, Cuban was playing the role of a hypocrite when he blasted the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell for not dealing with some of their core issues.
“I’m just telling you: Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered,” he said. “And they’re getting hoggy. … When you try to take it too far, people turn the other way. I’m just telling you, when you’ve got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always, always turns on you. That’s rule No. 1 of business.”
Fast forward to 2018, and now Cuban is the one apologizing and looking for forgiveness for not “dealing with some of his franchise’s core issues.”
“It was bad, but we made a mistake about the whole thing and didn’t pursue what happened with the police after the fact,” Cuban told ESPN.
“So we got it mostly from Earl’s perspective, and because we didn’t dig in with the details — and obviously it was a horrible mistake in hindsight — we kind of, I don’t want to say took his word for it, but we didn’t see all the gruesome details until just recently. I didn’t read the police report on that until just [Tuesday], and that was a huge mistake obviously.”
Cuban had no problem sticking his nose in the NFL’s business, all the while failing to address the mess that had been festering inside his own house for a decade.
At some point, Silver and the NBA will have to hand down some sort of punishment to the team and Cuban, since he’s finally “taking responsibility.”
What that punishment should be, I’m not absolutely sure of yet.