The Dallas Mavericks say they are appalled Sports Illustrated published a story about an alleged sexual assault by a staffer when the magazine knew the team had not been provided all of the purported evidence while adding the supposed victim's story changed over time and that the accuser had requested more and more money from the team without filing a police report.
Sports Illustrated published their account of the incident on Wednesday detailing a sexual assault that allegedly occurred in Las Vegas between a woman and a Mavericks employee.
The team said they were notified of the alleged incident in September 2019 and investigated the case for six months before taking no action and closing the case citing a lack of credible evidence against the accused.
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The Mavs said they were never provided five sworn statements from different people the victim talked to after the incident supposedly corroborating her story. The victim said in the article that the Mavericks were offered the statements as long as they signed a non-disclosure agreement to protect the identities of those involved. The team said in the article it did not agree with the terms of the NDA and therefore did not sign it and that redacted sworn affidavits could have been provided without strings attached.
The team also said they encouraged the victim to file a police report, but that she chose not to do so and that requests for a payment from the team continued to grow as the investigation continued. The team said at one point the victim said she wanted something "big and life changing."
In the article, the woman denied making the claim for a big payout.
The Mavericks also said Sports Illustrated omitted critical communication, including several text messages between the alleged victim and her supposed attacker.
The Mavs said they cooperated with Sports Illustrated for over a month on the story; Sports Illustrated said the Mavs didn't have the "critical evidence" they needed to come to a just conclusion.
The entire statement from the Dallas Maverick is unedited below.
"For over a month, the Mavericks organization has cooperated with Sports Illustrated on a story about an alleged sexual assault by a member of the Mavs’ staff. The Mavs take all allegations of sexual assault extremely seriously and reminded SI of the ZERO-TOLERANCE policy put in place in March of 2018 that includes zero-tolerance of misconduct of any kind such as sexual assault, sexual harassment, bullying, false allegations, etc. The Mavs, in pursuit of truth since the allegations were first made in September 2019, are appalled that Sports Illustrated reported a story, knowing the Mavs were not provided all of the purported evidence.
Through several comprehensive phone calls and emails, the Mavs have given details of the organization’s thorough investigation that spanned 6 months and involved 3 seasoned investigators, concluding with the SVP HR flying to Las Vegas to get promised information that was never provided.
During the investigation when the alleged victim directly spoke with the Mavs, she never mentioned the sworn declarations. To the Mavs’ knowledge, these sworn statements first surfaced after she engaged Sports Illustrated and the Bloom firm. It is abundantly clear from the communications between the Bloom firm and the alleged victim described in the article that they never intended on giving the Mavs the information unless the Mavs came to the negotiating table to discuss a settlement. If this was truly a matter of establishing her credibility—particularly in light of the alleged victim’s contemporaneous text messages, some of which were cited in the article –the alleged victim or her attorneys could have sent the redacted sworn affidavits without strings attached.
Sports Illustrated has the sworn statements. Her attorneys have the sworn statements. She even offered to give the sworn statements to a neutral party, like the NBA. However, she chose not to provide the Mavericks the sworn statements that she felt were so important and claims could have changed the conclusion of the Mavericks’ investigation. A fundamental element of fairness and due process is that both sides get to see all the evidence.
Not only does this one-sided, incomplete and sensational form of journalism, with its multiple inaccuracies, mischaracterizations and omissions, seek to harm the reputations of the accused, but it dredges up the past for so many women and men in the Mavs’ organization and some who no longer work at the Mavs. The organization is providing counseling for those who need it because the Mavs have worked tirelessly to take care of employees, both personally and professionally.
Below is a sample list of inaccuracies, omissions and mischaracterizations in the article, including facts and statements the Mavericks gave Sports Illustrated during the past month of cooperation.
- The request in the original email from the alleged victim to the Mavs organization was about money for her camps overseas, however the Mavs could not ignore the sexual assault subject line and associated information in the email.
- On multiple occasions, the Mavs organization encouraged the alleged victim to file a police report, but she chose not to do so.
- The alleged victim continued to say that others (outside of the Mavs) had promised her things like this in the past, but never delivered.
- The alleged victim had many opportunities to provide the Mavs organization more information during the investigation, during the legal process and after the legal process. At the alleged victim’s request, the final opportunity came in March 2020 when the SVP HR flew to meet the victim at the location of her choosing, during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The statements were never provided, only a larger request for money was made.
- The requests for money continued to get bigger throughout the process with the victim stating she wanted something “big and life-changing.”
- Her story about the sexual harassment changed each time the Mavs spoke with her. SI was provided details about what changed in the story.
- SI omitted critical communication, including several text messages, between the alleged victim and the alleged accuser.
It is concerning that Sports Illustrated published this piece with several facts having been omitted, mischaracterized and reported inaccurately. SI knows that this case was brought to the Mavs with a request for money and merchandise, however the Mavs conducted a thorough investigation into all matters contained in the original email including allegations of sexual assault. The Mavs have always responded immediately every time the alleged victim has reached out during and after the formal investigation process. The Mavs have always been in pursuit of the truth. The formal investigation is currently closed pending further credible evidence emerging and the zero-tolerance policy remains."
Editor's Note: The original version of this report suggested the accuser was an employee of the Mavericks organization. That is not the case. We regret the error.