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Mark Cuban's response to Donnie Nelson's lawsuit claiming he got fired for addressing a sexual assault accusation

The Mavericks owner vehemently denied the accusations.
Dallas MAvericks owner Mark Cuban and former GM Donnie Nelson

Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson

Former Dallas Mavericks GM Donnie Nelson claims he was fired after reporting to Mark Cuban that Mavericks’ executive, Jason Lutin, assaulted and harassed his nephew in a hotel room during the 2020 All-Star Weekend in Chicago. 

Always Gets Ugly

Remember when Dallas had a serious problem with improper sexual behavior within the organization? It came less than two months after drafting Luka Doncic.

The investigation the Mavericks conducted didn’t find enough evidence to support the accusation of a young female claiming she was sexually assaulted by a Mavericks executive.

However, a follow-up investigation undercovered “improper workplace conduct” in separate areas. That’s the impact of accusations like this - they are impossible to shake even if they aren’t proven to be true. But often, they put a lens on some other nasty crap. Either way, no one looks back at it with a smile.

Donnie Nelson’s accusation.

Not to be confused with former Coach and GM, Don Nelson, Donnie was an assistant coach for multiple teams for 16 consecutive years and the Mavericks’ executive from 2005 to 2021. As you may recall, Nelson was fired this summer - many believe the straw that broke the camel’s back was the in-depth piece by Tim Cato at the Athletic that detailed the dysfunction brought in, at least according to the story, by Haralabos Voulgaris. 

It seemed like Cuban fired Nelson because it seemed he was one of the sources for the story. Donnie Nelson has a different explanation.

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His nephew, a man in his 20s who is not identified in the lawsuit, was allegedly invited by Lutin, described as Cuban’s “right-hand man,” to his hotel room during an interview and then sexually harassed the young man. Not long after, Donnie claims he was in talks to receive a 10-year, $66 million contract from Cuban. Five months later, he found out and brought it up to Cuban. He then claims he was offered $52 million to withdraw the wrongful termination, for which his refusal led to his firing.

Nelson’s lawsuit labels Lutin “a sexual predator.”

“It’s a complete lie”

Cuban vehemently denied the allegations. “The filing is full of lies and is ridiculous,” Cuban told DallasBasketball.com. “The NBA was fully aware of our investigation of Mr. Nelson and his allegations.

"We did multiple full investigations and the only person who did not meet the standards of the Dallas Mavericks was Mr. Nelson. He was fired as a result. He was very aware of the investigation. He refused to participate fully. I'll say it again, everything he said is a lie",

Mark Cuban, ESPN

In an email to ESPN, Lutin denied the allegations, saying, “What this man (Nelson) is doing to someone like me is absolutely unspeakable. It’s a complete lie.

Cuban pointed out that after the 2018 scandal, the NBA sent them a long list of requirements they had to report to the NBA every year and that the Mavericks “did so without exception.” He also expressed remorse and more importantly, accepted all the responsibility for everything that happened.

“The pain that people went through, the pain that people shared with me as this happened, the tears that I saw ... it just, it hurt. And the way I felt is nothing compared to the way they felt. ... I mean, I have to recognize I made a mistake, learn from it and then try to fix it.”

Mark Cuban, ESPN

Time will tell did Cuban fail to fulfill his duty, and another incident happened under his watch, or is Nelson trying to get revenge after getting fired this summer. 

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