In a recent article, Sports Illustrated uncovered a culture of sexual harassment that has plagued the Dallas Mavericks franchise going back to the 1990s. The consequences enabling such an environment will be up to NBA commissioner Adam Silver as the league constitution gives Silver the power to severely punish any franchise, owner, or team employee who he believes is guilty of conduct prejudicial or detrimental to the NBA.
Silver has taken equality issues seriously, even moving the 2017 NBA All Star Game from Charlotte to New Orleans following North Carolina's enactment of "the bathroom bill" which limited anti-discrimination protections. Additionally, in recent years major sports leagues in the U.S. have not taken scandals like this one lightly. In 2014, NBA owner Donald Sterling was forced to sell the Los Angeles Clippers and received a lifetime ban after he was recorded making racist remarks. More recently, in 2017, NFL owner Jerry Richardson came under fire for sexual harassment and has since announced he will sell the Carolina Panthers. The consequences for the Mavericks may not be so substantial as Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was not accused of sexual harassment himself but there are still questions about his knowledge of the situation. Considering the extent of the scandal and Cuban's hands-on ownership approach, some find it hard to believe he didn't at least have knowledge of the situation. Cuban has stated that he has no tolerance for the events exposed by the article and has already fired the human resources director. It will be interesting to see what kind of message Silver decides to deliver when he ultimately determines what consequences are appropriate for the situation.