This is the first time that I woke up, saw a report of a sexual assault allegation against a celebrity, and wanted it to not be true. This is the first time I’ve caught myself thinking the things that defenders of people like Harvey Weinstein said when news of his misfortunes arose. Things like “this can’t be true”, “why wait until now to have this story break”, and “there isn’t enough evidence”.
Let me be clear. For me, this isn’t about Mark Cuban. This is about my favorite basketball team. The Dallas Mavericks are a team that I’ve loved since childhood. A team with the face of the franchise being all around amazing human Dirk Nowitzki. And now my favorite team is embroiled in scandal.
Roughly two weeks ago sports illustrated released their article laying out what has allegedly happened in the Mavericks’ corporate offices. Allegations against former CEO Terdema Ussery; allegations, then proof of domestic violence against now former website blogger Earl K. Sneed; Cuban denials about knowledge of the situation, and then a phenomenal hire of Cynthia (Cynt) Marshall.
I’ve written and deleted multiple stories about the news of two weeks ago, and the aftermath of it all. Then I woke up this morning, saw the news, and decided that this is enough. Is the allegation against Mark Cuban true? I don’t know. Reports say that there wasn’t enough evidence to go to trial. But here’s my issue. This is now, at least on the business side of the Mavericks, a trend.
We know Sneed hit his live in girlfriend. We know Ussery was quickly fired after leaving the Mavericks for a position at Under Armour after allegations followed him there. We know the offices in Deep Ellum were a toxic and misogynistic environment. We know Cuban let a convicted domestic abuser back into said offices. So does it really matter if Cuban sexually assaulted a woman, when there’s miles of evidence that he enabled others to do it themselves?
The #metoo movement is hitting hard. And it will continue to. We can continue to defend people we thought incapable of disgusting acts, or we can realize that this is a problem, and start looking for solutions. It’s easy to think that people you idolize, or teams you love are free from this, are free from scrutiny. It’s not easy accepting that an organization I grew to love has done so much evil. But we have to work to fix this problem. If we don’t, stories like this will continue, and that’s not okay. I find solace in the fact that the women that felt so uncomfortable at the Dallas Mavericks offices deemed the locker room to be a safe place. I think we can all agree that sexual assault is not okay, so let’s strive to be more like those players, and less like their owner.