(Reuters) - Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban will donate $10 million to women’s organizations following a seven-month investigation into sexual harassment allegations within the organization, the National Basketball Association (NBA) said on Wednesday.
The investigation followed a Sports Illustrated report in February that described a culture in the Mavericks’ front office “rife with misogyny and predatory sexual behavior”.
The findings of an independent investigation, carried out on behalf of the Mavericks by external law firms and overseen by the NBA, were published on Wednesday.
The NBA issued a statement summarizing the investigation’s findings, which said that there was no wrongdoing on Cuban’s part.
It added, however, the investigation substantiated numerous instances of sexual harassment and other improper workplace conduct within the Mavericks over a period spanning more than 20 years.
The investigation found “Mavericks’ management was ineffective, including a lack of compliance and internal controls, and the shortcomings permitted an environment in which acts of misconduct and the individuals who committed them could flourish”.
The Mavericks did not respond when asked for comment from Cuban or on behalf of the team but Cuban apologized to the women and their families on Wednesday after the report was released.
“I’m just sorry I didn’t see it. I’m just sorry I didn’t recognize it,” he said during an interview on ESPN’s The Jump.
“I just hope that out of this we’ll be better.”
The NBA said Cuban had agreed “to contribute $10 million to organizations committed to supporting women’s leadership and development in sports and combating domestic violence.”
The investigators spoke to 215 current and former Mavericks employees who worked for the team during the past two decades and evaluated more than 1.6 million documents, including emails.
“The findings of the independent investigation are disturbing and heartbreaking and no employee in the NBA, or any workplace for that matter, should be subject to the type of working environment described in the report,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.
“We appreciate that Mark Cuban reacted swiftly, thoroughly and transparently to the allegations first set forth in Sports Illustrated — including the immediate hiring of Cynthia Marshall as CEO to effect change, but as Mark has acknowledged, he is ultimately responsible for the culture and conduct of his employees.”
Marshall praised the employees who had come forward to tell their stories.
“We appreciate the women and their courage, and we thank them, again, for coming forward,” she said at a press conference on Wednesday.
The investigation also included recommendations for changes within the Mavericks’ organization, including an increase in the number of women on staff, enhancing the reporting process for victims of misconduct and implementing anonymous employee surveys to evaluate workplace culture.
Additionally, the NBA said it is requiring the Mavs to give the league quarterly reports regarding the recommendations set forth in the report, to immediately report any instances or allegations misconduct and train all staff issues related to domestic violence, sexual assault, and sexual harassment.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, Additional reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Toby Davis