Last month an exclusive report by Sports Illustrated revealed that more than a dozen women who are current and former employees of the Dallas Mavericks consider the franchise a hostile work environment. Within that story, there were specific allegations of sexual harassment against former Mavericks president Terdema Ussery.
Ussery denied and discredited the allegations made by “anonymous sources,” but now one source has decided to reveal her identity and once again speak out about the various accusations. “I’m using my name because I’m still not sure the Mavericks get it,” Melissa Weishaupt said in a letter she wrote for Sports Illustrated.
Weishaupt worked as a marketing manager for the Mavericks from 2010 to 2014, according to Newsweek. She used the letter to explain why she decided to come forward in the first place, citing the ubiquitous #MeToo movement. She also criticized Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who has continued to distance himself from the SI report. “Since the story broke, owner Mark Cuban has repeatedly claimed he oversaw only the basketball side of that franchise, not the business side,” she wrote. “Sorry. It doesn’t work that way. You own 100 percent of the team, Mark. The buck stops with you.”
Weishaupt alleges that Cuban created a toxic work environment, allowing harassment and abuse of power to flourish. “I am using my name because I am convinced that Cuban still doesn’t recognize the culture he’s helped create or the plight of the women who still work for him,” she wrote.
The original report by SI also revealed that the team’s website reporter Earl Sneed was accused of sexual assault twice. After the story broke, Cuban offered to pay for any legal counselling alleged victims may need, and the Mavericks set up a hotline. “We are not fragile flowers,” she wrote in response to the move in her letter. “We don’t long for counseling. We want equitable pay. We need to be treated with respect. When deserved, we ought to be given the same promotions as our male counterparts.”
After criticizing the franchise and Cuban, Weishaupt praised Dirk Nowitzki and Mavs coach Rick Carlisle. “After SI’s story broke, they didn’t duck questions; they didn’t blame the victims,” she wrote. “Accused of nothing, they still recognized they represented their organization. They showed support for those of us who came forward.”
Read her full letter here.