While his hiring in Dallas raised some valid concerns after both his and the team’s troubling history, Mavericks CEO Cynthia Marshall said on Tuesday that she had a pair of “long, intense” conversations with new coach Jason Kidd about his 2001 domestic violence incident.
By the end of it, Marshall — a domestic violence survivor herself — was convinced.
“I told him, ‘I know it’s uncomfortable, but it is what it is,’” Marshall said, via the Dallas Morning News. “‘It’s part of the history of the Mavs, so I have to address it. And it’s part of my personal history.’
“There were multiple reasons we had to do this. By the time I hung up the phone, I didn’t find any reason not to hire him. None. And of course that’s not discounting anything that’s happened in the past. Domestic violence is horrible. I lived through it.”
Jason Kidd pleaded guilty to assaulting ex-wife in 2001
Kidd and the Mavericks reached a deal to make him the team’s next head coach last week, just days after longtime coach Rick Carlisle left Dallas after 13 seasons.
The move, for a lot of basketball reasons, is a good fit. The Hall of Famer played for the Mavericks twice throughout his career, initially when they selected him with the No. 2 overall pick in 1994 and then again during the 2007-08 season. He, alongside Dirk Nowitzki, helped lead them to their only title before he left Dallas again to finish his playing career elsewhere.
He’s spent five seasons coaching in the league, too, one with the Brooklyn Nets and four with the Milwaukee Bucks. Kidd has been an assistant with the Lakers for the past two seasons.
He is, however, connected with a domestic violence incident in his past — something Marshall and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban have vowed to stay away from following a scathing report detailing a string of high-profile incidents inside the organization. The team’s former president, former team beat writer and another front office staff member were all facing separate sexual harassment or abuse allegations, among other things.
Cuban then hired Marshall to clean up the organization, and she enacted a “zero-tolerance policy,” per the Dallas Morning News.
Kidd pleaded guilty to assaulting his ex-wife in 2001, and had to serve six months of anger management classes. The couple then divorced in 2007, and Kidd cited “extreme cruelty” and threats of “false domestic abuse claims,” when he filed, per the report. His ex-wife’s counterclaim also alleged multiple instances of abuse.
Marshall addressed assault with Kidd
Marshall told the Dallas Morning News that her father was both verbally and physically abusive to her mother and siblings growing up, and that he once broke her sister’s nose.
That, she said, is part of why she wanted to talk directly with Kidd about his incident.
“I said, ‘Jason, I need you to take me through your journey, and I’m particularly interested in the details of what happened back in 2001 — and any other details that you want to tell me about. And I want to know what action you’ve taken since then, relative to anger management, battery intervention.’ And then I told Jason about my own childhood experience with domestic violence,” she said, via the Dallas Morning News.
“I told him, ‘I just need you to talk to me. We have a history here that cannot be ignored. That’s how I got here. And we’ve worked hard to address the issues that brought me here.’”
Marshall said that Kidd will address everything himself when the Mavericks officially introduce him and new general manager Nico Harrison on July 15, something she said Kidd is looking forward to.
“I will let Jason speak for himself,” Marshall said, via the Dallas Morning News. “That is something that I asked him to do. He didn’t hesitate. He said he looked forward to it. His desire is to create change for the better.”
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