Report: Mavericks photographer accused of sexual harassment

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
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As the investigation into sexual misconduct within their organization dragged on, the Mavericks put out word the delays were due to investigators “being as thorough as humanly possible.”

But when the report was finally released, one name that didn’t appear in it: Danny Bollinger.

Brandon George of The Dallas Morning News:

Four former female employees who spoke on the condition of anonymity said team photographer Danny Bollinger has a history of propositioning female co-workers and making lewd comments in the workplace.

Bollinger, 50, has worked in the Mavericks’ marketing department for more than 18 years, spanning Mark Cuban’s ownership. He has the title of publishing manager and has been friends with Cuban since the 1990s.

Three of the women who worked for the Mavericks, and an additional female who volunteered for the team, told The News they were surprised Bollinger was not included in the report. Two said they told investigators about Bollinger’s sexual advances and lewd comments. One said investigators were aware of Bollinger’s reputation, confirming that an investigator first brought up his name in an interview.

Two say Bollinger propositioned them for sex multiple times, and one said he showed her inappropriate photos while at work of Mavericks dancers and female fans sitting in the front row at games.

I suggest reading George’s report for more details, but these specific allegations stood out to me:

A female community services volunteer for the Dallas Mavericks Foundation said that early in Bollinger’s tenure, he twice jumped into her vehicle as she was pulling out of a parking lot at the American Airlines Center and propositioned her for sex.

The former volunteer said Bollinger approached her car waving his arms to get her to stop. He opened her door and jumped into a passenger seat, she said, and started to come on to her. She said she told Bollinger that she was happily married with children and that he needed to get out of her car. She said she argued with Bollinger for a few minutes until he left.

The woman said she reported the incident to Pittman in human resources, who assured her he’d handle it. However, a few weeks later Bollinger again approached her car as she was leaving the parking lot. This time, she said, Bollinger walked in front of her car to get her to stop. She said she stopped because she was naive enough to think that maybe he had come to apologize for the first incident.

Instead, she said, Bollinger again started to come on to her. She said she again rejected his advances before telling him to get out of her car.

“I’ve never experienced someone so bold in my life,” she added.

Around the same time as the first incident involving Bollinger, the volunteer was offered a full-time job by the Mavericks. But she said that shortly after she complained to Pittman about Bollinger’s first sexual advance, the job offer was rescinded.

Bollinger’s alleged conduct sounds horrible. The Mavericks’ response looks horrible.

This is not how to treat people. Less importantly, it’s not how to run a company. If this woman were the best person for a job, it would have hurt the Mavericks to run her off for retaliation. Other employees clearly felt uncomfortable around Bollinger, and no doubt, that adversely affected their work.

The Mavericks’ human-resources department, under Buddy Pittman, was a failure. Mistreated employees had nowhere within the company to turn. This was clearly an awful workplace environment.

Now, new questions arise about how the Mavericks are fixing it. The investigative report released last month had sections on six people: Terdema Ussery, Chris Hyde, Earl Sneed, Buddy Pittman, George Prokos and Mark Cuban. All six were already accused of wrongdoing in the initial Sports Illustrated report and/or other reporting. Did the investigation aim to fully understand and convey the extent of the Mavericks’ problematic workplace or just detail the issues the public already knew about?

It’s not just a matter of naming Bollinger in the report, either. He was on the team’s China trip until being sent home yesterday, according to The Dallas Morning News. Were these allegations taken seriously and addressed promptly?

NBA commissioner Adam – who has already had to defend penalizing neither the Mavericks nor Cuban, who agreed to donate $10 million to charity – is doing more damage control.

Silver, via ASAP Sports:

I will say that, when the investigators did their review of the Mavericks’ organization, they made a decision to not make public allegations that were brought by employees who chose to remain anonymous. What they did at the end of the investigation was, in essence, shift to the new management of the Dallas Mavericks, run by Cynthia Marshall, their findings with an understanding that Cynthia Marshall, then using a more traditional human resources process, would continue to investigate particular employees and then act on them.

Part of the process, the new process we put in place with the Mavericks, was an ongoing reporting obligation to the league office. So Cynthia Marshall has been in constant contact with Kathy Behrens at the league office. We were aware of those additional allegations, and we are monitoring how they are responding to them.

The investigative report noted it granted anonymity to most of its sources. No victims are named. I don’t understand this distinction between the allegations listed in the report and the ones about Bollinger. They all came from anonymous employees and anonymous former employees.

All along, the investigate report was painted as a full reckoning. It was a chance for the Mavericks to uncover all their errors then take responsibility for them.

But it increasingly looks like a public-relations document designed to limit damage.

If that was a goal, it didn’t work. These new revelations are especially damaging given the expectation this saga had concluded.

This story won’t go away until the Mavericks fully handle their problems. It seems they haven’t yet.

Watch Bam Adebayo score 38, lift Heat to win over Wizards

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MIAMI (AP) — Bam Adebayo scored a season-high 38 points and the Miami Heat beat the Washington Wizards 110-107 Friday night.

Caleb Martin added 20 points and Kyle Lowry finished with 13 points while Tyler Herro had 11 points and 10 assists for the Heat, who won their second straight at home against Washington after their 113-105 victory Wednesday.

Adebayo’s two free throws with 1:37 remaining put Miami ahead 105-104 lead then extended the advantage on a short jumper with 38 seconds left.

“It was one of those things where my teammates gave me the ball and I was taking advantage of the mismatch,” Adebayo said. “They were shots (Washington) let me have.”

Adebayo has scored in double digits in all 18 of his appearances this season. He’s had double-doubles in half of those games; Miami is 6-3 in those contests.

“He had a lot on his shoulders, really the last several games with a lot of different lineups and everything,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “You need that stability from your leaders. I think at some point we’ll print up these shirts, `Mr. Reliable,’ and I’ll wear them, probably.”

Lowry also had eight assists, seven rebounds and a four-point play with 3:15 left for a 103-102 lead – the 11th of what would be 13 lead changes on the night.

And it was another close game for the Heat, who are already 4-3 in games decided by three points or less this season.

“That’s what’s happened really for, it seems like several weeks,” Spoelstra said. “It just feels like every single one of these games is going down to the last possession.”

The Wizards cut the deficit on Bradley Beal‘s dunk before Martin made two free throws with 12.5 seconds for the final margin, then hounded Beal defensively on the game’s last possession and forced the Wizards’ All-Star into a miss to end the contest.

“I take pride in trying to make stops,” Martin said. “Those are the types of situations you dream about, game on the line against a guy like Bradley Beal with the ball late shot clock. I just tried to make it as tough as possible.”

Beal and Kyle Kuzma finished with 28 points Kristaps Porzingis added 18 points for the Wizards.

“We did enough throughout the course of the game to put us in position to win,” said Beal, who returned from a one-game absence because of a quadriceps contusion. “We had several leads and ended up giving up those leads late. It was a matter of us getting stops at the defensive ends.”

Heat leading scorer Jimmy Butler (right knee soreness) missed his fifth straight game because of right knee soreness while shooters Max Strus (right shoulder impingement) and Duncan Robinson (left ankle sprain) also sat out.

The Heat rallied from a 12-point deficit late in the first quarter and cut it to 59-56 at halftime.

“Obviously, we had shots late that were makeable to keep them at bay,” Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said.

Another Hornets injury: Hayward out indefinitely with fractured shoulder

Philadelphia 76ers v Charlotte Hornets
Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images
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The basketball gods have not been kind to the Hornets this season. LaMelo Ball missed the start of the season with a sprained ankle, got back and played just three games before re-injuring it by stepping on a fan’s foot while chasing a loose ball out of bounds. Miles Bridges will not be with the team. Cody Martin had his knee scoped and is out, and Dennis Smith Jr. is out with a sprained ankle — and that’s just the guys out right now.

Now add Gordon Hayward to the list. He is out indefinitely with a fractured shoulder. Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the news.

Hayward has a long history of injuries and has battled shoulder issues all season. There had been hope in Charlotte that he could stay healthy long enough to contribute to some wins and build up some potential trade interest (his name came up in Russell Westbrook scenarios, for example). In the 11 games he played, he averaged 16.3 points and shot 38.1% from 3. Of course, a trade was always a longshot because Hayward is owed a fully guaranteed $31.5 million next season, no team was taking that on without sweeteners.

With him injured, a trade is out of the question (other than part of a salary dump).

Kevin Durant says ‘it’s cool to see’ LeBron break all-time scoring record

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LeBron James remains on target to break Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA all-time scoring record, although with the games he has missed this season the target date now looks more like late February/early March.

Kevin Durant is excited to see it, as he told Nick Friedell of ESPN.

“To be the No. 1 in anything, there’s 8 billion people in the world, we just figured that out last week, so to be the No. 1 of all time at scoring the basketball, I’m sure it’s going to be a range of emotions for him,” Durant said at Friday’s shootaround, in advance of a game against the Indiana Pacers. “But to be in an era where we see this live is pretty cool as well. You probably can’t even describe the emotions and feelings him and his family and his friends are going to go through, but it’s cool to see it up close.”

Durant is currently 18th on that all-time scoring list (having just moved past Kevin Garnett), which is impressive in its own right even if he is not going to catch LeBron. LeBron’s feat has taken all of his 20 NBA seasons, and that is what impressed the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich.

“LeBron is taking care of himself so well that he’s been able to play a bundle of games for a lot of years. And that’s what he takes,” Popovich said before his Spurs took on the Lakers. “But he gets credit for taking care of himself and being able to be out there. The way a lot of players don’t even come close to. His commitment to the game and to what he has to do, has allowed him to be in this position.”

LeBron’s quest continues to generate a lot of buzz around the league. He just hopes it’s not the lone bright highlight out of this Lakers’ season, but his team has a lot of work to climb up to the postseason out of a 5-11 start.

 

Leonard, George both out for Clippers Friday, Jokic probable for Nuggets

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When Kawhi Leonard returned and was put in the starting lineup, the Clippers said it was time to buckle down and truly start their season.

Instead, how about another round of injuries?

Paul Goerge is missing his third consecutive game with a hamstring tendon strain, while Leonard has a sprained right ankle and this is his second game out.

Adding to the troubling news for the Clippers in this game, Nikola Jokic is probable.

The Clippers won the first three games Leonard was back, and they have a ridiculous +31.7 net rating in the limited minutes that George and Leonard are on the court together. But the question heading into the season — even among those backing the Clippers to come out of the West (*raises hand*) — was whether would they stay healthy enough to live up to that potential? So far, the signs are not promising.

Yet, the Clippers are 11-8 despite the injuries and just a game back of the top-seeded Suns in a West where no team has run away with it. They are not out of it, but they must find a way to get their stars on the court together for an extended period.