The Dallas Mavericks have fired a top executive following a shocking sexual assault allegation. According to Dallas Morning News reporter Brad Townsend, Tony Ronzone, the Mavericks' director of player of personnel, was terminated by the team after the allegation was brought to light, but it's unclear when he was removed from the organization.
In July 2020, Sports Illustrated published a story that talked about Ronzone being accused of pinning a woman to a bed in Las Vegas in July 2019 before groping and kissing her with consent. Sports Illustrated reported Ronzone continued to kiss the woman before she "escaped the room." The Mavericks didn't fire Ronzone after the report. The team told Sports Illustrated "there was no evidence presented of sexual assault," and also saying the story was "one-sided."
"During the investigation when the alleged victim directly spoke with the Mavs, she never mentioned the sworn declarations," the Mavericks' statement read, in part per ESPN at the time. "To the Mavs' knowledge these sworn statements first surfaced after she engaged Sports Illustrated and the Bloom firm [representing the woman]. It is abundantly clear from the communications between the Bloom firm and the alleged victim described in the article that they never intended on giving the Mavs the information unless the Mavs came to the negotiating table to discuss a settlement.
The statement continues" "If this was truly a matter of establishing her credibility - particularly in light of the alleged victim's contemporaneous text messages, some of which were cited in the article - the alleged victim or her attorneys could have sent the redacted sworn affidavits without strings attached."
The woman first notified the Mavericks of the alleged assault in an email to team owner Mark Cuban in September 2019, which led to an internal investigation. Mavericks CEO Cynthia Marshall oversaw the investigation and told Sports Illustrated Ronzone remained in his role at the team because there was no evidence presented of sexual assault."
"The Mavs have always responded immediately every time the alleged victim has reached out during and after the formal investigation process," the team's 2019 statement read. "The Mavs have always been in pursuit of the truth. The formal investigation is currently closed pending further credible evidence emerging and the zero-tolerance policy remains." Both Cuban and Marshall have declined to comment on the reported firing.