These are dark days for the Dallas Mavericks.
On Tuesday, Sports Illustrated broke the story of Dallas’ “corrosive” culture of sexual harassment, a tale that has rocked the NBA world and shaken the proud franchise to its core.
In light of the Mavericks letting not one, but two potentially dangerous sexual predators roam unchecked in the halls of the American-Airlines Center, it’s fair to wonder what the league and commissioner Adam Silver will do in response.
Just today, we’ve already seen Silver come down hard on Cuban for his tanking comments recently on Dr. J’s “House Call” podcast.
The NBA just announced Mark Cuban has been fined $600,000 for his comments on Dr. J's podcast about how tanking is the right thing for the Mavericks to do this season.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) February 21, 2018
Per The Vertical’s Shams Charania, Cuban said he got caught up “fanboying” too hard in the presence of his “childhood idol” and said the “wrong thing the wrong way.”
The fine today is the heaviest Cuban has received from the NBA, and it will likely pale in comparison to what the NBA decides to do with the current sexual harassment scandal Dallas finds itself embroiled in.
It’s fair to wonder if Dallas’ current top-4 draft pick will be in jeopardy, but there isn’t much precedent for the NBA resorting to that, and in the cases that it did, it was an entirely different situation.
You have to go back to 1999 with the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Joe Smith scandal to find the last time the NBA penalized an offending team by taking away its draft picks. In this instance, Minnesota flagrantly violated NBA salary cap rules and the current CBA and took away the Wolves’ next five first-round draft picks (the 2003 first-round pick was eventually given back).
Also, you could refer back to the scandal involving the New York Knicks and the subsequent Isiah Thomas sexual harassment case. Sportingnews.com’s Sean Deveney’s sources in the article posit that the “NBA did absolutely nothing” to resolve the issue of sexual harassment that has infected NBA work environments since 2007 when Browne Sanders first reported Thomas’ approaches and that the NBA has made the precedent clear: This is not our business.
For attorney in Isiah Thomas case, Mavericks' scandal comes as no surprise: 'The NBA did absolutely nothing' https://t.co/x4TzrbgcUg
— Sean Deveney (@SeanDeveney) February 21, 2018
All of this being said, the Mavericks will pay for what happened during the time that both Ussery and Sneed were employed with the franchise. It’s hard to imagine how such egregious offenses could have happened under the noses of an owner who prides himself on being in the loop with his employees, even to the point of micro-managing. But here we are.
I believe Dallas will move forward from this, but change is coming. Either Cuban or Silver will likely oversee a sweeping overhaul of the structure of the Mavericks (complicit head of HR Buddy Pittman is already gone). It’s going to take a long time for Dallas to restore trust not only with its employees, but with its sponsors and fans and credentialed media members to name a few.
That being said, we do have at least some idea of what could be coming down the pike. One thing is for sure, things are going to be different.
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