(Gossip-Grind News) Atlanta Hawks Owner Selling Team Because Of Racist Email:
Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson has announced that he’s selling the team because he’s guilty of sending a racist email to team execs.
Levenson admits he sent the email to team execs back in 2012, urging them to get more suburban white fans at games. He then laid out all the problems with the current fan base, listing the following:
– it’s 70 pct black
– the cheerleaders are black
– the music is hip hop
– at the bars it’s 90 pct black
– there are few fathers and sons at the games
– the concerts [after games] are either hip hop or gospel
Levenson continued in the email … “My theory is that the black crowd scared away the whites and there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build a significant season ticket base.” He also complained that he’s told team execs, “I want some white cheerleaders … I have even bitched that the kiss cam is too black.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says Levenson copped to the email in July — about 2 months after Donald Sterling was banned — and immediately informed the league he would sell the team.
Levenson apologized to fans in a statement, saying … “If you’re angry about what I wrote, you should be. I’m angry at myself too.” (TMZ)
Levenson released the following statement:
“Over the past several years, I’ve spent a lot of time grappling with low attendance at our games and the need for the Hawks to attract more season ticket holders and corporate sponsors. Over that time, I’ve talked with team executives about the need for the Hawks to build a more diverse fan base that includes more suburban whites, and I shared my thoughts on why our efforts to bridge Atlanta’s racial sports divide seemed to be failing.
In trying to address those issues, I wrote an e-mail two years ago that was inappropriate and offensive. I trivialized our fans by making clichéd assumptions about their interests (i.e. hip hop vs. country, white vs. black cheerleaders, etc.) and by stereotyping their perceptions of one another (i.e. that white fans might be afraid of our black fans). By focusing on race, I also sent the unintentional and hurtful message that our white fans are more valuable than our black fans.
If you’re angry about what I wrote, you should be. I’m angry at myself, too. It was inflammatory nonsense. We all may have subtle biases and preconceptions when it comes to race, but my role as a leader is to challenge them, not to validate or accommodate those who might hold them.
I have said repeatedly that the NBA should have zero tolerance for racism, and I strongly believe that to be true. That is why I voluntarily reported my inappropriate e-mail to the NBA.
After much long and difficult contemplation, I have decided that it is in the best interests of the team, the Atlanta community, and the NBA to sell my controlling interest in the Hawks franchise.
Hawks CEO Steve Koonin will oversee all team operations and take all organizational reports as we proceed with the sale process.
I’m truly embarrassed by my words in that e-mail, and I apologize to the members of the Hawks family and all of our fans.
To the Hawks family and its fans, you have my deepest gratitude for the past ten years. Working with this team and its extraordinary executives, coaching staff, and players has been one of the highlights of my life. I am proud of our diverse, passionate, and growing legion of Hawks fans, and I will continue to join you in cheering for the best team in the NBA.”