Saturday, September 28, 2019

DMN Takes Mark Cuban's Word for It

"I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say."
1 Corinthians 10:15

This story is a week and a half old, although it didn't come onto our radar until yesterday:
As anniversaries go, this isn't one the Mavericks organization is likely to celebrate.

Acknowledge? Yes. Quietly commemorate it as a time for reflection? Absolutely.

No one can change the reality that last Sept. 19 was one of the most painful days in Mavericks history. But one year later, by all indications, the organization is mended if not healed.

"We've literally turned the corner," Mavericks CEO Cynthia Marshall says.

A year ago Thursday, ESPN viewers watched Mavericks owner Mark Cuban's at-times tearful response to a seven-month investigation that confirmed "numerous instances" of sexual harassment and other improper conduct within his franchise's business operations.

None of the transgressions, which spanned two decades, were basketball-related, but the entire organization was stigmatized as the #MeToo movement's NBA poster boy.

Fortunately for Cuban and the franchise, he hired former AT&T senior vice president and chief diversity officer Marshall in late February 2018, days after Sports Illustrated exposed the Mavericks' "corrosive workplace culture."

Marshall soon devised and began implementing her 100-day plan to cleanse and transform the Mavericks' business operations, months before the independent investigation concluded.

"She has completely revolutionized the culture of the business side of the Mavs," Cuban says. "Her imprint is in every part of the business. We have improved in every facet, and she deserves the credit."
The DMN "article" (if you can call it that) goes on to discuss several things Mark Cuban and people employed by Mark Cuban claim that Mark Cuban has done to address this situation.  Basically, Cuban hired bureaucrats and used financial donations to check off diversity boxes.  Most noteworthy, at least according to the DMN, Cuban doesn't appear to have fired anybody.

To be clear: This author has no specific knowledge of the internal operations of the Dallas Mavericks.  Given the nature of the problem, we certainly hope everything Cuban claims is true.  One thing we do know, however, is that billionaires frequently pitch self-serving stories to the press.

We don't begrudge a reporter picking up a story they've been pitched, but in such a situation the reporter should independently verify any claims.  The DMN piece doesn't.  It's a glorified Mark Cuban press release.

Furthermore, in this situation, there's another factor.

It's not a secret that the DMN is in financial trouble.  It's also not a secret that Mark Cuban is a local rich guy.  This author has heard rumors about Cuban buying the DMN on more than a few occasions.  For an organization in perennial financial trouble to accept the claims of a potential financial savior at face value...doesn't look good.

Especially not on a subject this serious.

Bottom Line:  Mark Cuban may or may not have fixed the Dallas Mavericks' internal cultural problems in the way Mark   claims.  We certainly hope so.  But in such a situation, no credible outlet should accept Mark Cuban's claims at face value.

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