If you haven’t read Jon Wertheim and Jessica Luther’s Sports Illustrated investigation into the Mavericks’ toxic workplace culture, take some time to do that as soon as you can. A large part of it centers on former team president Terdema Ussery and his alleged pattern of sexual misconduct. He was the subject of an internal investigation when Ross Perot Jr. still owned the franchise, and, according to multiple sources, that misconduct continued until he left the organization in 2015. And after he left the Mavs and joined Under Armour, he was let go for the same behavior. In response to SI, Ussery gave this statement:
“I am deeply disappointed that anonymous sources have made such outright false and inflammatory accusations against me. During my career with the Mavericks, I have strived to conduct myself with character, integrity and empathy for others. During my nearly 20 year tenure with the Mavericks, I am not aware of any sexual harassment complaints about me or any findings by the organization that I engaged in inappropriate conduct. In fact, on multiple occasions I and other senior executives at the organization raised concerns—both in person and in emails—about other Mavericks employees who had engaged in highly inappropriate—and in some cases, threatening—sexual conduct. The organization refused to address these concerns, and I believe these misleading claims about me are part of an attempt to shift blame for the failure to remove employees who created an uncomfortable and hostile work environment within the Mavericks organization.
Ussery does two sort of amazing things here.
1. He claims that he is “not aware of any sexual harassment complaints about me” even though he was the subject of an internal investigation about exactly that in 1998 and it was in the Morning News, among other places. This is Trumpian in its ignorance of actual facts.
2. He claims that not only did he not do what was alleged, it was he who was the one who was actually trying to protect employees from people engaging in inappropriate conduct.
His first claim, if nothing else, certainly casts doubt on the second.