- Recent sexual misconduct allegations involving the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks could affect billionaire businessman – and Mavs owner – Mark Cuban’s possible 2020 presidential bid.
- One source told Business Insider they felt Cuban did a much better job addressing the matter than Hillary Clinton did when faced with allegations against a campaign adviser.
- Another source said it may be better for Cuban to forget about seeking office.
Billionaire businessman Mark Cuban has long teased a possible presidential bid in 2020. But with news of sexual misconduct allegations within his most prominent business – the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, which he owns – some political veterans are debating whether Cuban’s possible campaign could be derailed before it even takes off.
“I don’t think this has any impact on a potential Mark Cuban candidacy,” Terry Sullivan, campaign manager for Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential bid, told Business Insider in an email. “In fact, if there is anything that stands out, it’s that he’s taken the allegations seriously, and is moving to do something about it.”
On the other hand, Matt Mackowiak, a Republican strategist and founder and CEO of the Potomac Strategy Group, told Business Insider he could see some problems arising from the allegations. However, he said he’s always been “bearish” on the idea of Cuban launching a presidential bid.
“For candidates who have been in business, particularly at a significant level, that is going to give opponents something to mine for vulnerabilities,” he said. “They would have been mining Cuban’s past even if this had not happened. And now it just kind of gives them a news hook to bite their teeth into.”
Cuban, who also stars on the hit ABC show “Shark Tank,” is now dealing with the fallout of those allegations, which were first reported by Sports Illustrated last week.
The publication interviewed more than a dozen current and former Mavericks employees, who painted a picture of a culture with
- “Misogyny and predatory sexual behaviour”
- “Alleged public fondling by the team president:
- “Outright domestic assault by a high-profile member of the Mavs.com staff
- “Unsupportive or even intimidating responses from superiors who heard complaints of inappropriate behaviour from their employees”
- “An employee who openly watched pornography at his desk.”
In the crosshairs of many of the allegations was former team president and CEO Terdema Ussery, who left the team in 2015. Ussery was first investigated by the Mavericks after complaints by female employees in 1998, the report said, two years before Cuban purchased the team.
Cuban, who declined to comment to Business Insider for this story, told Sports Illustrated that the allegations were “all new to me.”
“I mean, this is, obviously there’s a problem in the Mavericks organisation and we’ve got to fix it,” he said. “That’s it. And we’re going to take every step. It’s not something we tolerate. I don’t want it. It’s not something that’s acceptable. I’m embarrassed, to be honest with you, that it happened under my ownership, and it needs to be fixed. Period. End of story.”
‘When you’re selling yourself as a successful business person, any problems you’ve had in your business are fair game’
But the story leaves Cuban facing questions about how such an environment could exist underneath an owner who has presented an image of his involvement at every level of the organisation.
Certainly, those questions would be brought up during a gruelling and brutal presidential bid.
“When you’re selling yourself as a successful business person, any problems you’ve had in your business are fair game,” Mackowiak said. “And obviously, Trump dealt with that and Cuban would as well.”
But while Mackowiak said the “#MeToo problems he may be dealing with in his business” are “certainly an issue,” Cuban’s bigger problem, he said, is that he does not fit very well into either the Democratic or Republican Party.
Cuban himself cites that as a strength.
At the same time, Sullivan praised Cuban’s response to the matter.
“He’s publicly vowed to change the Mavericks workplace culture to address these issues,” he said. “What we’re seeing now is that many large businesses have problems like this. The measure of a successful leader is whether they address those problems head on or they deny them as ‘fake news.'”
Sullivan said Cuban’s response was “certainly a much different approach” than the one taken by 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton when she was recently faced with a campaign adviser’s misconduct allegations, as well as “the environment that President Trump tolerates.”
If he wants to put some of the headlines around this story behind him, however, Mackowiak said there’s an easy way to have a little less attention on his organisation’s problems.
“Honestly, the single best way for him to put some of these headlines behind him is to announce he’s not running,” he said. “You’re going to have a much smaller universe of people taking an interest in every bad thing that’s happened in one of his companies if he’s not running.”
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