Report: Mavs facing another sexual assault scandal
It has only been two years since the Dallas Mavericks faced a #MeToo candal, but the NBA franchise could have more issues on its hands. According to Jessica Luther and Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated, a woman claims there has been no justice after her allegation of sexual assault against a Mavs executive went unpunished.
On Sept. 17, 2019, the woman, identified as “Sarah” to keep her anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the allegations, typed out an email to owner Mark Cuban, hoping to garner some level of dignity.
Angry and flabbergasted, she reported what she deemed as “inappropriate behavior” at the hands of “an Executive from the Dallas Mavericks,” one she would later identify as director of player personnel, Tony Ronzone.
Sarah emailed Cuban, citing how Ronzone forced himself on her late at night in a Las Vegas hotel room.
CEO Cynthia Marshall, whom the Mavs hired in the wake of the 2018 scandal, said the Mavs investigated the matter. Ronzone remains with the team because “there was no evidence presented of sexual assault.”
Marshall acknowledged a group of “seasoned investigators” overviewed the issue:
“It is our process to investigate thoroughly,” said Marshall.
But as Sports Illustrated found out, it was not.
The Mavs did not acquire key pieces of evidence, including interviewing key people whom Sarah had contacted in the immediate aftermath of the alleged assault. These accounts are considered pivotal in investigations with no eyewitnesses, but the Mavs failed to respond, even when lawyers willingly offered them access to sworn statements from those individuals, contingent on a nondisclosure agreement.
Sarah likened her interaction with Ronzone as a “physical mismatch,” as she was thrown onto the bed by a male roughly a foot taller than her and twice her weight.
The woman said Ronzone first tried to kiss her, sticking his tongue down her throat. She said “no,” and said she was married, but that didn’t stop Ronzone:
“It doesn’t matter. We’re in Vegas. No one’s going to know.”
She was then thrown onto the bed, where she was straddled and pinned:
“I couldn’t move an inch,” said Sarah, at which point she told Ronzone: “You’re making me feel really uncomfortable right now.”
Sarah was able to escape the room and told several people about the incident Those who she spoke with in the aftermath of the incident claim her statement lines up with what they were told, but a lengthy legal battle has resulted in no justice.
Cuban apologized to the women harmed during the 2018 incident, and now it looks like he may have to take more action now that this story has been made public.