The NBA is establishing a confidential hotline for league and team employees to report concerns about misconduct in their workplace.
The move comes after a Sports Illustrated report that described a hostile environment for women in the Dallas Mavericks organization.
Commissioner Adam Silver sent a memo to teams Thursday detailing plans for the hotline and asking them to review their respect in the workplace policies. The memo states that “respect and integrity are core NBA values, and we all must work to ensure that they are reflected in the culture and workplaces of our organizations.”
The memo, obtained by The Associated Press and other organizations, asks teams to complete their review of their policies by March 6.
The hotline will allow employees to report concerns “including but not limited to sexual harassment, illegality, or other misconduct,” the memo stated.
It also stated that league office employees were told in December about plans to conduct mandatory, small-group discussions facilitated by outside experts to ensure a full understanding of issues related to sexual harassment and expectations for to behave in the workplace. In the memo, Silver encourages teams to implement the same program in their organizations.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers remembers having to attend a sensitivity course when he was in Boston, annoyed at first because it was on a day off.
“But after it, you did learn some things that we all should know. I think it’s good. I think the league has continued to do that,” Rivers said.
“I think it’s good for sports, I think it’s good for our young athletes to hear this and see this and understand no matter who you are and how good you are or how popular you are, you still have to treat everybody with respect and the right way. There are a lot of people that will fall, and that’s fine by me. I just think it’s great. … I have a daughter, and I think it’s great that this is where we’re at right now, and we have a long way to go.”
A number of other teams also do sensitivity training.
The SI story this week detailed allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct by former Mavericks President Terdema Ussery, and said team website reporter Earl Sneed was twice accused of domestic assault while working for the Mavericks.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told the magazine he was “embarrassed” and that it needs to be fixed.
The Mavericks have hired Evan Krutoy and Anne Milgram to lead the independent investigation.
Krutoy served as a prosecutor at the Manhattan District Attorney’s office for over 20 years and served as Acting Deputy Bureau Chief of the Sex Crimes Unit. Milgram is a professor at New York University School of Law, and a former New Jersey attorney general.
The NBA has said it would “closely monitor” the investigation.
Associated Press writer Janie McCauley in Oakland, California, contributed to this report.
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