FORT WORTH, Texas - The CEO of the Dallas Mavericks wants you to know that the franchise is not dumping their dancers, even though they basically did.
Last week, the Dallas Mavericks announced they are replacing the dance team with a "variety of acts," which could potentially include jugglers, illusionists, stunt performers, comedy acts, dancing animals, etc. It would be great if a 3-point shooter and a shot blocker is included, too.
On Tuesday, Mavs CEO Cynthia Marshall was a featured speaker at Executive Women's Day at the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club.
Near the end of the two-hour luncheon, Marshall was asked by a member of the audience if this was indeed true; that the dance team is dead.
"It won't look like the Mavs dancers," Marshall told the audience. "We didn't get rid of them. Their contracts expired. It's up to them to try out again. If they want to be a part of something bigger, try out."
Yeah ... they're gone.
In response to this move, a petition has been created at www.change.org to bring back the Dallas Mavs dance team.
Former Dallas Mavericks dancer Casie Bullock is furious at the decision, and called out Marshall by name.
"I've wanted to be a Mavericks dancer since I was little and worked my butt off to reach that dream. And now she's done this. Completely crushing," Bullock said in an interview. "Cynthia Marshall doesn't even have an inclination of what she's done and how she has affected every dancer out there in DFW, and even outside the DFW area. In my opinion, she is in no position to make this ignorant call."
Bullock was a member of the Dallas Mavericks dance team from 2010 to 2014.
"It is a very emotional and hard thing for us all, and for the future ladies that wanted this dream. My two little cousins to be exact, graduate high school (Wednesday). They wanted to move on to pursuing the professional dance world, especially the Dallas Mavericks. It's just so sad and infuriating for everyone."
The San Antonio Spurs made a similar announcement and decision last year.
Under the ownership of Mark Cuban, the in-game experience at Mavericks games went from traditional to an organization willing to try anything. They have a drum line, and a group of "Mavs Maniacs," an all male dance group that tends to lean on the ... "meatier" side.
They have also had the Mavs dancers, the young women who perform in revealing outfits at games, and make appearances at team events. The dancers also participated in a Mavs calendar shoot, etc. Standard professional sports franchise stuff.
Since the Mavericks were the subject of a scathing report by Sports Illustrated on an office-wide problem of sexually inappropriate behaviors towards female co-workers in February 2018, the franchise has made visible changes to "modernize."
Hiring Marshall to be the team's CEO was the most visible move it made. Not a coincidence they hired a woman.
While the move looks good to the media and hopefully has made a positive impact with front office employees, such moves have zero impact on fans.
Fans go to games if the team wins. The end. With or without cheerleaders, or a dancing bear who speaks Greek while eating fire.
Last summer, Marshall announced the team would have its dance team perform "more wholesome" routines ... whatever that means.
Ex-Mavs dancer Kathryn Dunn called it more of a PR stunt than any genuine measure to improve equality towards women in the work place. She's right.
Speaking of Dunn, when the Mavs announced this latest move, she tweeted:
"Mavs: In an effort to fix the culture problems in our front office, we're going to make the dancers cover up at the games!
"Dancers: OK ... speaking of culture, what about better pay?
"Mavs: problem solved!"
One year later, the Mavs have targeted the dancers again.
Marshall insists the dance team is not going away, but, at least to those who were members of the squad, they're not buying it
Visit the Fort Worth Star-Telegram at www.star-telegram.com