"It was a real life Animal House." That quote from a former employee of the Dallas Mavericks pretty much sums up the corporate culture of the NBA team as depicted in a new investigative piece by Sports Illustrated. The story pins much of the blame on former team president and CEO Terdema Ussery, who left the organization in 2015. Multiple women say they left the Mavericks organization because of unwanted advances from Ussery himself or because of a pervasive frat-house atmosphere he allowed to flourish. Ussery denies all of these "outright false and inflammatory accusations against me." As for high-profile owner Mark Cuban, the story's sources say he was never a participant in any harassment, though they find it hard to believe he could have been unaware of it. Cuban called the allegations "abhorrent" and said he was "embarrassed" by them.
The heart of the story: This is "a corporate culture rife with misogyny and predatory sexual behavior: alleged public fondling by the team president; outright domestic assault by a high-profile member of the Mavs.com staff; unsupportive or even intimidating responses from superiors who heard complaints of inappropriate behavior from their employees; even an employee who openly watched pornography at his desk," write Jon Wertheim and Jessica Luther. One of the female sources points out that the team's actual locker room was a "refuge" in comparison; the players were respectful; the office workers not so much. Cuban has fired the team's HR chief, and the AP reports that the Mavericks have hired outside counsel to investigate the claims. The league called the allegations "completely unacceptable" and said it would monitor the investigation. (Read more Dallas Mavericks stories.)