Upon learning about the toxic culture of predatory behavior and structural ineptitude, the Dallas Mavericks’ front office publicly promised to take “the necessary steps to ensure the workplace is a safe, respectful and productive one for all Dallas Mavericks employees.”
On February 20th, 2018, Sports Illustrated journalists Jon Wertheim and Jessica Luther published a scathing exposé detailing years of pervasive misogyny and sexual harassment within various levels of the Dallas Mavericks’ organization, from the former HR Director to the former President and CEO- Tederma Ussery (who stepped down in 2015 from such allegations).
As a part of her 100-day plan to clean up the franchise’s image, President Cynthia Marshall announced the ending of the Dallas Mavericks Dancers in an effort to “focus on the dancers as artists and to highlight their skills, not to be eye candy or sexualized.”; instead, the dancers will be replaced by an entertainment squad including, but not limited to “tumbling, all forms of dance, illusions, stunts, comedy, ventriloquists, dancing animals, etc.”
The Dallas Mavericks are not the only NBA team to take this approach, following in the footsteps of NBA franchises like the San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings who have also disbanded their female dance troupes in favor of co-ed dance and entertainment performance groups.
Disbanding the troupe not only primarily hurts the dancers but does absolutely NOTHING to address the structural problems within the franchise that made such predatory sexual and misogynistic behavior possible.
The problem does not lie in the mere disestablishment of the Dallas Mavericks Dancers as some fans have called for a change and vocally criticized the female troupe as “boring.”
The problem is WHY and the circumstances under which Cynthia Marshall has called to dissolve the female troupe: to “reevaluate every aspect of the [Mavericks] organization to ensure they are living up to their values.”
What President Marshall, the Mavericks’ front office, supporters of this decision are failing to mention is that the clothing choices and designs are just as artistically expressive as the moves dancers make and the songs they decide to groove to.
We must remind ourselves that the complaints from various female employees within the Mavericks organization did not precipitate because of concerns with the sartorial decisions of the dancers; rather, allegations were raised and workers quit because of both a lack of oversight within the Mavericks’ franchise and structural deficiencies that created a destructive culture of inappropriate behavior in which head staffers lacked any accountability and victims were absent of a voice.
The Dallas Mavericks Dancers were, and are, not the problem. Disbanding the female dance troupe to “rebrand” the Dallas Mavericks not only primarily hurts the dancers but does absolutely NOTHING to address the structural problems within the franchise that made such predatory sexual and misogynistic behavior possible.
Although President Cynthia Marshall has noted that “the dancers are doing nothing wrong and what they wear and how they dance is a part of the culture and the atmosphere that has been around for the past two decades,” her actions in dissolving the 29-year-old dance troupe and inaction in comprehensive organizational accountability and support systems for employees tell us otherwise.
- Published on 06/06/2019 at 13:00 PM
- Last updated at 06/06/2019 at 11:42 AM