Mark Cuban is an entrepreneurial icon.
A quick scan of his social media feed reveals quotes on leadership like this one:
Yet when this completely insane story about sexual harassment inside the Mavs front office hit Sports Illustrated beginning with an alleged incident where team President and CEO Terdema Ussery asked a female employee if she was going to get “gang-banged” that weekend and somehow gets worse. Cuban claimed to have no knowledge of the situation.
Mr Cuban made this claim despite giving many quotes about how hands on he is including this quote from the upcoming book “The Soul Of Basketball” By Ian Thompson when asked how he was different than other owners.
“The big difference is, being that I’m so close to everything that’s going around, you can’t bullshit me.”
Now to be clear, I don’t know what Mark Cuban knew or knows about the business end of the Mavericks operation. It could be possible that Cuban had no knowledge at all of a culture that was described as “an animal house” and faced allegations of inappropriate conduct and threats when the conduct was reported from more than a dozen former and current Mavs employees including this incredibly brave post by Melissa Weishaupt where she reveals that all marketing and promotions needed Cuban’s approval.
Yet somehow we are to believe that Cuban did not know that a male Maverick’s employee had been arrested for domestic assault of a female Mavs employee and kept his job without anyone bringing this to Cuban’s attention?
Again I don’t know what Mark Cuban knew or didn’t know.
But I do know that culture eats strategy.
And the culture of the Mavs is set very publicly I might add, by the owner.
A man who has set and broken his own record for being fined by the NBA.
A man who Baseball did not want to invite into the ranks of its owners because of his “outspokenness.”
A man who came directly from the boys club world of silicon valley and frat culture that we continue to see in headlines regarding the #metoo movement.
A man who bragged about spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in a Miami nightclub after the 2012 NBA championship.
A man who appropo of nothing defended Donald Sterling and wondered perhaps presciently about the slippery slope of taking away an owner’s NBA team for bad behavior.
A man who has been married almost the entire time he’s been in the public eye yet acts like a bachelor.
No company plans a strategy of sexual harassment and cover ups.
Well no business outside of this MMA gym I trained at in San Diego that was literally a way for the owner and friends to sexually harass bottle service girls who came in to work out but I digress.
Culture eats strategy and to call the Maverick’s culture “Broish” would be an understatement. If Mark Cuban doesn’t have to listen to the officials or the NBA commissioner why should other Mavs employees like Ussery and Snead have to listen to Human Resources or the Police?
You can even see the same brash attitude Cuban displays in Ussery’s statements where he denies all wrongdoing and accuses the victims of making it all up. Everyone is out to get Ussery the same way that all the officials are out to get Mark Cuban…
Publicly Mark Cuban has said all the right things, but he has to wonder if given all the information that has come out about the culture of sexual harassment, threats and cover ups, if the Mavericks are an accurate reflection of his values and beliefs.
And if they are what that says about him.