"It Was This Zoo, This Complete S--tshow."

[Content Note: Sexual harassment. Video may autoplay at link.]

My friend Jessica Luther has been working on this Sports Illustrated piece with Jon Wertheim for months, and I hope you will take the time to read it, because it is terrific, difficult to read, and extremely necessary: "Inside the Corrosive Workplace Culture of the Dallas Mavericks."

It's important for a number of reasons, primarily that the women who, in some cases, spent years being harassed and denied both safety and justice, are being heard and believed by reporters who are amplifying their voices.

Another reason is because the Dallas Mavericks' owner, Mark Cuban, has political aspirations. And he did not handle this situation well, to put it mildly.

It's difficult to believe he had no idea what was going on in the executive offices of a team with which he has routinely bragged about being hands-on, but even if we take his account at face value, there are serious problems:
Reached by SI on Monday, Cuban expressed embarrassment and horror at the accusations—but insisted he had no knowledge of the corrosive culture in his offices. "This is all new to me," he said. "The only awareness I have is because I heard you guys were looking into some things… Based off of what I've read here, we just fired our HR person. I don't have any tolerance for what I've read."

Cuban continued in an emotional response: "It's wrong. It's abhorrent. It's not a situation we condone. I can't tell you how many times, particularly since all this [#MeToo] stuff has been coming out recently I asked our HR director, 'Do we have a problem? Do we have any issues I have to be aware of?' And the answer was no."

Pressed on how it is that a proudly hyperattentive owner could be so oblivious, Cuban said, "I deferred to the CEO, who at the time was Terdema, and to HR… 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. 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."
So, if we believe that (unbelievable) version of events, here's the problem: The CEO was, by all accounts, the worst offender.

Cuban is trying to pass responsibility onto his CEO and to the HR manager, the former of whom sexually harassed and groped female employees and the latter of whom created a hostile workplace environment by sending out homophobic and anti-choice emails.

He put his trust in untrustworthy men.

And then he relied on their takes when he asked if there were "any issues" he should be aware of, given all of the sexual harassment "stuff" being publicly discussed recently.

First, sexual harassment isn't new. That's something about which the owner of a male-dominated company should have been concerned long before now.

Secondly, and most importantly, a culture of harassment is concealed from the top down. If Cuban was seriously concerned about whether there was a culture of abuse at his company, the people to whom he should have been speaking were the women who worked for him, particularly in the lower levels of the corporate hierarchy.

"I just deferred. I let people do their jobs." Except they weren't doing their jobs, and they were harming women. And it would have been incredibly easy to find that out. But Cuban never bothered speaking to the women who worked for him.

I am very glad that Jessica Luther and Jon Wertheim did. I suspect the women are, too.

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