Sports Illustrated dropped a lengthy story Tuesday night that outlines a culture of sexual harassment, abuse, and misconduct in the Dallas Mavericks organization. One of the employees implicated is Mavs.com beat writer Earl Sneed, who worked full time for the team from the 2010-11 season until Tuesday. Here’s what the report says about Sneed:
Midway through that season [2010-11], Sneed was involved in a domestic dispute with a girlfriend. According to a Dallas police report, Sneed “sat on top of her and slapped her on the face and chest.” At one point he told the woman, “I’m going to f——— kick your ass. Today is gonna be the worst day of your life.” Sneed, according to the report, “fled before the reporting officer arrived.” The woman, according to the report, suffered a fractured right wrist and bruises on her arms and chest in the altercation.
Sneed was arrested and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of family violence assault and interference with emergency request, but kept his job.
Then, in 2014, Sneed reportedly hit a female coworker whom he was dating. The woman reported the incident to her supervisor and the head of HR, Buddy Pittman, but again Sneed remained employed. Pittman was fired on Monday, a day before Sneed, when SI asked Mark Cuban for comment on his situation.
A new statement from Sneed appears to outline just how much the Mavericks knew about Sneed’s behavior. Rather than fire him, Sneed says the Mavericks took some very strange steps to try to keep him away from the team’s female employees. Here’s the statement in full (emphasis mine):
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. I underwent much counseling after both situations, under the direction of Buddy Pittman, and I feel like I grew from that counseling. I also signed a contract stating that I would not have one-on-one contact or fraternize with female employees after the inaccurately described incident with my female co-worker, who was a live-in girlfriend. I abided by the details of that contract for four years, and received counseling during that period to avoid future instances.
I thank Buddy Pittman for helping me to grow during that time, and I thank Mark Cuban for his willingness to help facilitate that growth.
When SI reached out to Mavericks owner Mark Cuban for comment on the allegations against Sneed and his other employees, Cuban denied any knowledge of misconduct, and he fired Sneed the next day. Sneed’s gratitude towards Cuban implies that his violent incidents were not a mystery to the owner. At the very least, if this statement is true, the Mavs organization knowingly employed a man prone to violence against women, and rather than fire him or let news of the incident go public, they simply tried to quarantine the problem.