Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban Admits Employing Reporter Accused of Domestic Violence a ‘Horrible Mistake’

AP Ross D. Franklin MC
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Dallas Maverick’s owner Mark Cuban accepts blame for employing a man accused of domestic violence, calling it a “horrible mistake.”

The NBA owner said it was a “horrible mistake in hindsight” to continue employing reporter Earl K. Snead even after two accusations of domestic violence, one involving another Mavericks employee.

Cuban made the admission in an interview with ESPN after Sports Illustrated magazine released an expose on the sexist atmosphere in the Mavericks’ operations.

“I want to be clear: I’m not putting the blame on anybody else,” Cuban said. “It came down to my final decision that I made.”

The billionaire NBA owner insisted that he didn’t know the exact details of the domestic abuse charges but noted that if he did he would have fired the writer, but “still made him go to counseling.”

In 2012 Sneed pleaded guilty to several misdemeanor charges, including family violence assault. Sneed’s girlfriend at the time was reportedly left with a fractured wrist and multiple bruises across her body from an attack that took place in 2011.

Sneed was sentenced to community service, a $750 fine, and required to undergo an anger management program.

But Cuban says it was a mistake for his organization not to follow up on the legal actions the employee faced.

“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 said. “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.”

Sneed stayed employed by the Mavericks and eventually became involved with another team employee who soon also charged the man with abuse.

Cuban explained why he Sneed wasn’t fired after the second case of abuse:

So when the second time came around … I didn’t want to just fire him, because then he would go out there and get hired again and do it somewhere else. 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.

For his part, Sneed has since said that he has undergone “much counseling” from which he feels he has “grown” as a person. Sneed also insisted that he had abided by a contract to avoid fraternizing with female employees and continued his counseling.

The story comes on the heels of a wide-ranging story by the sports magazine revealing about a dozen former female staffers of the team who claim they experienced abuse while working for the Mavericks and that the team has a culture of sexual harassment.

Cuban also insisted in an interview with the magazine that he was unaware of this culture of harassment.

“I mean, this is all new to me,” Cuban said when confronted with the problems endemic in his organization. “That’s what I can tell you. Um, I mean, the only awareness I have is just because I heard you guys were looking into some things. And I started doing some, asking some questions.”

The team owner, who is often floated as a Democrat candidate for president, claimed that he never knew of the problems because he only paid attention to the “basketball side” of the organization.

“Yeah, my involvement was on the basketball side. And the basketball and the business side were completely different. I mean, it’s just the truth of the matter is, I deferred to, I had a CEO, and I let them do their job,” he said as he explained away his ignorance of the troubles.

It remains to be seen what impact, if any, this scandal will have on Cuban’s potential as a 2020 presidential candidate.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.


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