Sunday, September 07, 2014

Atlanta Hawks Owner Selling Controlling Interest After Sending Racially Offensive E-Mail

Bruce Levenson
Bruce Levenson
Bruce Levenson, the controlling owner of the Atlanta Hawks NBA team, announced that he is selling his interest in the team after he acknowledged to NBA officials that he erred in sending a racially offensive e-mail a couple of years ago to other team owners and management in discussing ways of attracting more fans. The exact text of the e-mail has not been made public, but in it Levenson reportedly made generalizations about black and white fans, hip hop versus country and cheerleaders which were "inappropriate and offensive." This appears to be more follow-up from the recent Donald Sterling flap after he was forced to sell his ownership interest in the LA Clippers to Steve Ballmer.

UPDATED: The Daily Mail included these quotes from the controversial e-mail in which Levenson complains that the black crowd was scaring off whites from attending games:
'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,' Levenson said in the email released Sunday by the Hawks.
'Please don't get me wrong. There was nothing threatening going on in the arena back then. I never felt uncomfortable, but I think southern whites simply were not comfortable being in an arena or at a bar where they were in the minority.'
Levenson said Hawks crowds were 70 percent black, the team's cheerleaders were black and hip-hop music was played. 
'Then I start looking around at other arenas,' Levenson said. 'It is completely different.'
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Atlanta's population was 54 percent black and 38.4-percent white in 2010. For metro Atlanta, the ratio is 55.4 percent white and 32.4 percent black.

After Donald Sterling's racially offensive comments were made public when a mistress secretly-recorded a conversation with Sterling in which he made clear that he did not approve of her bringing black guests to LA Clippers' games and being photographed with them, I took a closer look at the men who own NBA teams. The most frequent criticism of the NBA team owners is that they are virtually all white males with a couple of exceptions, including the Hornets' Michael Jordan and the Kings' Vivek Ranadive. To my surprise, I discovered that 25 of the 30 NBA owners are Jewish like Sterling, Levenson and the Pacers' Herb Simon. What are the odds? American Jews represent about 2% of the population but 83% of NBA team owners. It appears to me the discrimination within the NBA ownership structure runs much more deeply than just white versus black, or male versus female.

When Sterling was forced to sell the Clippers, it provided an opportunity for the NBA team owners to expand the diversity of the leagues owners. Instead, the league approved as a new owner another white male who also happens to be Jewish. Given the amount of money us ordinary taxpayers are compelled by our corrupt politicians to fork over every year as tributes to these NBA team owners, who collectively are the some of the most narcissistic, wealth-flaunting people in the country to subsidize their NBA franchises, is it too much to demand that their ownership look more like America as a whole?


Flogger said...

Adam Silver the commish is Jewish as was his predecessor David Stern.

Several years ago I happened to be down town when the City was "Hosting" some NCAA basketball games. I remember observing to friend I was with the vast majority of the fans walking into the stadium were White, but the majority of the actual players were Black.

Reminds me of Ferguson, Mo majority of citizens are Black, but the majority of the Police are White.

I wonder if the NCAA Division I Board of Directors is all White too??

Anonymous said...

Will the NCAA and NFL officials demand the same kind of political correctness from African American owners, players and coaches when they comment about Caucasians?

Anonymous said...

I read the e-mail. How was it offensive? He's complaining a majority Black fan base arrives at games on BST. That's offensive? He complains that a majority-Black fan base doesn't buy merchandise like the fans of other teams. That's offensive? He worries that a majority-Black fan base scares away a white fan base. That's not offensive; it's true. He worries that hip-hop scares off Whites. That's also very, very true.

His e-mail read like a businessman who knows marketing trying to run his business and trying to target the most desirable customer.

People aren't going to want to touch sports teams if they can't have frank discussions about how to make money with them. Businesses aren't social laboratories or vehicles to incubate wacky leftist social-meddling ideas.

He "sold" his interest to get out from under this albatross.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Even Levenson agreed the e-mail was racially offensive, anon. 11:57.

C. Roger Csee said...

The email may be "racially offensive" to people who spend their days looking for "racially offensive" things to complain about.
I guess the days are gone when a white person can speak the truth without being called a "racist."