- The Washington Times
Sunday, July 19, 2020

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban knows what it’s like for a franchise to face a sexual harassment scandal. In 2018, Sports Illustrated published a bombshell report that detailed a “corporate culture rife with misogyny and predatory sexual behavior” inside the Mavericks’ business department.

So when 15 former Washington Redskins employees and two reporters accused five of Dan Snyder’s top executives of sexual harassment and verbal abuse, Cuban could relate.

On his weekly SiriusXM radio show, Cuban said the situations were the “exact same thing” — and even offered some advice to his fellow franchise owner.

“You have to accept the mistakes you made,” Cuban said.

Like Cuban, Snyder wasn’t directly accused of sexual harassment, but the Redskins owner has taken plenty of criticism for allowing the behavior to happen on his watch.

And as Washington reviews the allegations of misconduct, the NFL vowed Friday to take “any action” deemed appropriate upon conclusion of the investigation — leaving open the possibility of a fine or further punishment.

Barring something that further implicates Snyder in the allegations of harassment, the Redskins owner isn’t likely to be forced out by the NFL, as was the case with former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson.

Richardson sold his team in 2018 following a December 2017 Sports Illustrated report detailing the owner’s racist comments toward employees and inappropriate behavior with female staffers.

The Mavericks and Panthers cases provide a template for Snyder as he looks to move on from the fallout.

Snyder addressed the Washington Post’s report twice Friday — once in a public statement and another in an internal memo to employees. In each, he vowed to create a better culture and condemned the behavior described in the article. Snyder, though, did not apologize in either statement, and he did not use the words “sexual harassment.”

In his public statement, Snyder said the team would make “any and all” recommendations following the investigation, which is being done by prominent attorney Beth Wilkinson and her law firm.

Washington has not given a time frame for when the review will be completed, but past cases offer clues as to when it might be done.

It took Dallas, for instance, seven months to publish a 40-page public report that detailed the team’s misconduct spanning a period of more than 20 years. The investigation, conducted by attorney Anne Milgram, featured 215 interviews with current and former employees and evaluated more than 1.6 million documents. The report also listed recommendations for Dallas to follow, such as hiring more women in leadership positions and enhancing the formal reporting process for claims of misconduct.

For Carolina, the NFL conducted a six-month investigation that listed four findings that substantiated the claims made against Richardson. The league, however, did not release a full report, which was conducted by former U.S. attorney Mary Jo White.

As for any potential discipline, the league fined Richardson $2.75 million and said the money would go toward “organizations addressing race and gender-based issues and fund league-wide workplace training.” A month after the punishment, Richardson finalized his sake of the Panthers to David Tepper for $2.2 billion.

While the NBA did not fine Cuban, the Mavericks owner pledged $10 million to women groups. The NBA also required the Mavericks to submit quarterly reports over their implementation of the report’s recommendations and follow other guidelines.

Another area that remains to be seen is how — or if — Snyder will address this matter further. When the investigation involving Dallas was completed in September 2018, Cuban participated in a grilling interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols. But that seems to run contrary to Snyder’s approach as Snyder, unlike Cuban, has typically avoided media interviews in recent years.

In his advice, Cuban called for Snyder to be accountable.

Cuban, like Snyder, was not directly accused of sexual harassment, but said he still made “a lot of mistakes.” The 2018 report found that Cuban was uninformed of the behavior of sexual harassment and workplace misconduct within the Mavericks.

“If you know Dan Snyder, if you’re involved with the Redskins, if you connect to them, tell Dan and tell his senior management you’ve got to just recognize what you did right and what you did wrong,” Cuban said. “… That’s the only way this is going to get resolved.”

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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