Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban claimed full responsibility for keeping the team’s beat reporter employed despite being accused of two domestic violence incidents.
Earl K. Sneed was fired before Sports Illustrated published their explosive exposé on the rampant sexual misconduct at the Mavericks’ workplace. The article highlighted domestic assault incidents that allegedly involved Sneed.
Sneed was accused of beating his girlfriend. According to a Dallas police report, the woman had bruises and a fractured wrist following a dispute. The reporter fled the scene and was arrested in a Mavericks office two months later.
He pleaded guilty in 2012 to “misdemeanor charges of family violence assault and interference with emergency request.” He paid a $750 fine and did community service.
Cuban told ESPN he was “not aware of the gruesome details” until he read the exposé. He expressed regret for not taking a closer look at the police reports.
"It was bad, but we made a mistake about the whole thing and didn't pursue what happened with the police after the fact," Cuban told ESPN. "So we got it mostly from Earl's perspective, and because we didn't dig in with the details – and obviously it was a horrible mistake in hindsight – we kind of, I don't want to say took his word for it, but we didn't see all the gruesome details until just recently."
Despite the arrest, Sneed continued to work, though he could not travel across the border to Canada to cover games against the Toronto Raptors due to his assault record.
Sources told SI that Sneed began dating a woman in the workplace and allegedly had a violent altercation, leaving the woman with a swollen face.
The woman in question told SI she was only told of Sneed’s arrest record when she reported him to human resources.
“He shouldn’t have a job there,” she said.
Cuban said he did not fire Sneed because “he would go out there and get hired again and do it somewhere else.”
"That's what I was truly afraid of and that was the discussion we had internally," Cuban said. "It was a choice between just firing him and making sure that we had control of him."
The entrepreneur said he “made the decision” to keep Sneed on staff but regretted it.
"I want to be clear: I'm not putting the blame on anybody else," Cuban told ESPN. "It came down to my final decision that I made."
Cuban said if he had known of the details sooner, he would have immediately fired Sneed and “made him go to counseling.”
"So I made the decision, it was my decision and again, in hindsight, I would probably do it differently. I made the decision that we would make him go to domestic abuse counseling as a requirement to continued employment, that he was not allowed to be alone without a chaperone in the presence of any other women in the organization or any other women in a business setting at all, and he was not allowed to date anybody [who works for the Mavericks]. From that point on – and the investigators are going to see if we missed anything else – he appeared to abide by all those rules, as far as I knew,” Cuban said.
He continued saying it was “f---ed up on my part because I was not there” and “didn’t recognize the impact it would have on all the other employees.”
Sneed responded to the report with a statement released Wednesday.
"While both instances described in the report are damning and language used is not accurate, the two relationships described in the report are not something I am proud to have been a part of," Sneed said.
The exposé also detailed the alleged misogynistic behavior and sexual misconduct by the team’s former CEO and president, Terdema Ussery. Cuban declined to comment on the allegations against Ussery.