Former Nevada basketball player Tony Ronzone has been fired by the Dallas Mavericks after the organization obtained new information about an alleged sexual assault last summer, according to a report by the Dallas Morning News and confirmed by ESPN. Ronzone was the Mavericks' director of player personnel. It is unclear when Ronzone was dismissed.
The alleged assault was first made public in July 2020 after Sports Illustrated published an article accusing Ronzone of forcing himself on a woman in a Las Vegas hotel during the NBA's 2019 summer league. The accuser claimed Ronzone wreaked of alcohol and forcibly kissed her, groped her, pinned her on a bed and placed her hand on his crotch, all without her consent. He continued to kiss the woman before she "escaped the room" after twice asking if she could leave, per SI's report.
Following the release of the SI article, the Mavericks initially stood by Ronzone, saying, "there was no evidence presented of sexual assault," according to Mavericks CEO Cynthia Marshall following an investigation by the organization. The Mavericks added the report was "one-sided, incomplete and sensational form of journalism, with its inaccuracies, mischaracterizations and omissions." A lawyer for Ronzone told SI last year the claims were "meritless."
However, the Mavericks, citing new information discovered about the case, recently ended its relationship with Ronzone, per the Dallas Morning News. When the SI report came out in 2020, the Mavericks said the case was closed "pending further credible evidence emerging and the zero-tolerance policy remains."
The Mavericks grappled with a #MeToo scandal in 2018 after an SI report revealed what it called a "corrosive" corporate culture laden with institutional failures. “There were three bad actors, but it was more than that," lawyer Anne Milgram wrote after an investigation into the organization. "It’s important to understand how this was handled.”
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban apologized following the 2018 investigation into his organization's widespread inappropriate sexual behavior and misogyny. He hired a female CEO (Marshall) to oversee the team and made a large donation to women's causes.
“I’m just sorry I didn’t see it," Cuban said in 2018. "I’m sorry I didn’t recognize it. I just hope that out of this we’ll be better and we can avoid it and we can help make everybody just smarter about the whole thing.” The Mavericks contributed $10 million to organizations that promote women in leadership roles and combat domestic violence as part of NBA sanctions.
Ronzone, a 6-foot-1 guard, played for Nevada from 1983-85 before transferring to Long Beach State. He averaged 5.5 points, 1.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game for the Wolf Pack, shooting 41.3 percent from the field. He was a member of the Wolf Pack's first two NCAA Tournament teams.
Ronzone was a scout for the Mavericks and Detroit Pistons before serving as the director of basketball operations in Detroit. He was the Minnesota Timberwolves' assistant general manager for 16 months before serving as the director of player personnel for Dallas starting in the 2012-2013 season. He also has worked for the U.S. Olympic team and won Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012 as well as an NBA title with the Pistons in 2004. Ronzone has been a head coach in New Zealand and for the Saudi Arabian, United Arab Emirates and Chinese national teams.