Dallas Mavericks Deny Sexual Assault Allegation Made Against Executive

By 105.3 The Fan
DALLAS (105.3 The Fan) - The Dallas Mavericks issued a strong statement Wednesday afternoon criticizing Sports Illustrated for their report on a woman accusing a team executive of sexual assault. 

In the statement acquired by Marc Stein of the New York Times, the team says they are "appalled" the story was published despite not receiving "all of the purported evidence."

The team went on to list "several inaccuracies, omissions, and mischaracterizations in the article." 

You can see their full statement below:

The Mavericks on Wednesday issued a lenghty statement in response to a Sports Illustrated report detailing a new sexual assault allegation against a front-office executive, saying they are "appalled" it would be published without the team receiving "all of the purpoted evidence" pic.twitter.com/hNkValMFhF

— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 29, 2020

In Sports Illustrated's Wednesday morning report, a woman accused Mavericks director of player personnel, Tony Ronzone, of sexual assault.

According to the woman's sworn declarations, Ronzone forced himself on her in a Las Vegas hotel room in July 2019. 

When contacted by Sports Illustrated to comment on the story, Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall said the team investigated the allegation and found that "there was no evidence presented of sexual assault." Marshall added that the team had a group of "seasoned investigators" look into the incident. 

“We take care of our business. There is a speak-up culture and we do thorough investigations. … And so, based on the available evidence, based on what was presented to us it was determined that there was not a sufficient basis to support the allegations,” Marshall said. 

Ronzone's attorney also denied the allegation, calling it "meritless." He remains on the staff. 

The dispute between the accuser and the Mavericks centers around the sworn disclosures she says corroborates her story. The Mavericks claim they never received them and an HR employee for the team was asked to pay “significant” and “big and life-changing” amounts of money for the accuser's children's college tuition and her nonprofit in exchange for them. 

The accuser denied the team's claim.

"What we talked about was how this incident really messed up my life,” she says. Money came up when she explained the financial hit she took when she sent her son last-minute to boarding school last fall, something she felt she needed to do because of the emotional trauma she says she suffered. "My children have a college fund," she added.

In September of 2018, the NBA sanctioned owner Mark Cuban to donate $10 million to women in leadership roles and to combat domestic violence as a result of the team's first workplace culture investigation, which was also uncovered by Sports Illustrated.

As part of the league's mandated sanctions, Dallas was required to make changes on reporting, staffing and policy to improve workplace culture. Under Marshall's leadership, the team immediately made several changes. 

According to the NBA's report following the first investigation, the Mavs were found to have "serious workplace misconduct by former and current employees," and "improper or ineffective management." The claims, as written in Sports Illustrated's early 2018 report, were substantiated by 15 former and current employees regarding inappropriate comments and touching by former Dallas Mavericks President and CEO Terdema Ussery. 

"First. I want to apologize to the women involved. The women that were assaulted. ... Not just to them but their families," Cuban said after the investigation concluded. "I'm just sorry I didn't see it. I'm sorry I didn't recognize it. I hope in the future we can avoid it and be smarter about everything.

"I didn't know. I don't have an explanation. I can give you lots of reasons and they don't matter. I have to be accountable. In hindsight, it was staring at me right in the face and I missed it. I wasn't as focused on the business as I should have been."