One year after an investigation into the Dallas Mavericks revealed a corrosive workplace culture, NBA commissioner Adam Silver believes progress has been made toward implementing change within the organization.
Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, Silver said steps are being taken to improve Dallas's workplace environment.
"I had the opportunity to speak to virtually every employee of the team through a series of meetings over the course of a full day I was there," Silver said. "And I spoke to some employees individually, and I spoke to them as a group, and, again, we also have hotlines in place and anonymous ways of reporting issues. At least what was reported directly to me and through the organization is that it was a complete sea change in culture on the business side with the Mavericks, that Cynthia Marshall was getting the highest possible grades, along with the new senior management team that she had brought in.
"I think many employees, longtime employees there, felt somewhat liberated," Silver said. "While some felt still, honestly, a bit scarred, that they felt everything was being done to address those issues, and they thought systems, most importantly, had been put in place at the Mavericks to ensure that they don't end up ever again in a situation like that."
In September, the league released the findings from the independent investigation into sexual harassment and workplace misconduct at the team office that was done by Anne Milgram, Evan Krutoy and Krutoy Law, who were all hired by the Mavericks.
The investigation suggested the team should increase the number of women on staff, including in leadership positions; enhance formal reporting processes for victims of misconduct; implement regular anonymous employee surveys to evaluate workplace culture; and expand and improve the Mavericks’ human resources department and institute clear protocols for investigating workplace misconduct.
The NBA is requiring the team to provide the league office with quarterly reports regarding the recommendations set forth in the report and their implementation; immediately report to the league office any instances or allegations of significant misconduct by any employee; continually enhance and update annual “Respect in the Workplace” training for all staff, including ownership; and implement a program to train all staff, including ownership, on issues related to domestic violence, sexual assault, and sexual harassment.
A Sports Illustrated story published in February by Jon Wertheim and Jessica Luther detailed a pattern of highly inappropriate sexual conduct that was taking place around the Mavericks' workplace for years. The investigation found that "numerous instances of sexual harassment and other improper workplace conduct" had been going on within the organization for more than 20 years.
Silver added that owner Mark Cuban is on track to fulfill his $10 million donation to organizations that promote women in leadership roles and combat domestic violence as a result of the independent investigation.
"In terms of Mark Cuban's page, Kathy Behrens, our president of social responsibility, has been working closely with Mark, and Cynthia Marshall, the president of the team, and I know they're on plan," Silver said. "They are reviewing the organization, which Mark is making a commitment to. As you mentioned, I was just in Dallas. I got a report directly from Cynthia and from Kathy. Mark is absolutely meeting his commitment and has told me he's doing far more beyond that."
You can read the full investigative report here.