Mark Cuban takes blame for not firing Mavs employee after domestic violence incidents

Details continue to emerge following a Sports Illustrated investigation that revealed a corrosive, harassment-filled workplace in the Dallas Mavericks organization.

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has not shied away from the report, saying that he's "embarrassed" and vows to fix the problem. Among other details, the report explained how former writer Earl K. Sneed was kept on staff following two separate domestic violence incidents.

On Wednesday, Cuban took responsibility for the decision to keep Sneed as an employee, calling it a "horrible mistake," according to ESPN's Tim MacMahon.

Sneed was fired this week in advance of Sports Illustrated publishing an investigative story about a culture of misogyny and predatory sexual behavior. Cuban said he was not aware of "gruesome details" of a 2012 domestic dispute that resulted in Sneed being arrested at the Mavericks' office until contacted by Sports Illustrated this week.  

"I want to be clear, I'm not putting the blame on anybody else," Cuban told ESPN. "It came down to my final decision that I made."

In hindsight, Cuban said, "I would have fired him and still made him go to counseling" after learning details of the first domestic violence incident, expressing regret for not following up with police to discover those details.

Sports Illustrated, citing a Dallas police report, reported that Sneed's then-girlfriend suffered a fractured right wrist and bruises on her arms and chest in the altercation. Sneed, who fled the scene before the police arrived, was arrested two months later and plead guilty to misdemeanor charges of family violence assault. The charges were dismissed after Sneed paid a $750 fine and completed supervised community service and an anger management program.

"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 also apologized for not reacting more severely to Sneed's second domestic violence incident, which came in 2014.

"So when the second time came around ... the way I looked at it was -- and, again, in hindsight it was a mistake -- but I didn't want to just fire him, because them he would go out there and get hired again and do it somewhere else," Cuban told ESPN. "That's what I was truly afraid of and that was the discussion we had internally. It was a choice between just firing him and making sure that we had control of him. So I made the decision, it was my decision and again, in hindsight, I would probably do it differently. I made the decision that we would make him go to domestic abuse counseling as a requirement to continued employment, that he was not allowed to be alone without a chaperone in the presence of any other women in the organization or any other women in a business setting at all, and he was not allowed to date anybody [who works for the Mavericks]. From that point on - and the investigators are going to see if we missed anything else - he appeared to abide by all those rules, as far as I knew.

"So that was my decision. What I missed, and it was truly a f--- up on my part, because I was not there [at the Mavericks' office], I looked at everything anecdotally. My real f--- up was I didn't recognize the impact it would have on all the other employees. I looked at this as a one-off situation where, OK, if I don't do anything, this person could go out there and do damage on another women another time. Or do I say, can we get him counseling to try to prevent that from happening again? I thought I was doing the right thing at the time. What I missed, again, is I didn't realize the impact that it would have on the workplace and on the women that worked here and how it sent a message to them that, if it was OK for Earl to do that, who knows what else is OK in the workplace? I missed that completely. I missed it completely."

Cuban did not comment on the allegations of sexual harassment against former Mavericks president and CEO Terdema Ussery, due to an ongoing investigation by Krutoy Law.

Our Latest Stories