According to Sports Illustrated, Ussery had been accused of inappropriate behavior as early as 1998.
In a statement provided to Sports Illustrated, Ussery said he was not aware of any sexual harassment complaints against him. “I am deeply disappointed that anonymous sources have made such outright false and inflammatory accusations against me,” he said in the statement. “During my career with the Mavericks, I have strived to conduct myself with character, integrity and empathy for others.”
Cuban, who is one of the league’s most prominent and most public-facing owners, retweeted the team’s statement and responded to the article in a short interview with Sports Illustrated. The initial report says that none of Ussery’s accusers claim that Cuban contributed to the inappropriate behavior, though some expressed doubts that he was unaware of the issues. Cuban insisted in his interview response that he did not know about any of the issues in the report.
Sneed, a writer for the team’s website, was reported to have had multiple domestic violence accusations against him, including one instance in which he entered a guilty plea in a case that was dismissed when he met the conditions of the agreement. The Mavericks’ statement said that Sneed had misled the organization about the domestic violence episodes and that he had been terminated.
On Tuesday night, Sneed tweeted that he was leaving the team after seven years but gave no reason for his departure. He subsequently deleted all of his previous tweets, and his account was deactivated.
After the report was published, Sneed issued a statement to the Dallas Morning News saying that, in Sports Illustrated’s article, some of the “language used is not accurate.” He said he had received counseling and claimed that the team was aware of the issues to the point that they altered the terms of his employment.
“I also signed a contract stating that I would not have one-on-one contact or fraternize with female employees after the inaccurately described incident with my female co-worker, who was a live-in girlfriend,” Sneed said in the statement. “I abided by the details of that contract for four years, and received counseling during that period to avoid future instances.”
The N.B.A., which has shown a willingness to be proactive in cases of inappropriate behavior by team owners and executives, acknowledged in the league’s statement that it had been made aware of the accusations and of the upcoming investigation.
“This alleged conduct runs counter to the steadfast commitment of the N.B.A. and its teams to foster safe, respectful and welcoming workplaces for all employees,” Mike Bass, the league’s executive vice president for communications, said. “Such behavior is completely unacceptable and we will closely monitor the independent investigation into this matter.”
No timetable was provided, but the Mavericks said in the team’s statement that they would have no further comment until the investigation had been completed.