Controversial Email Spurs Atlanta Hawks Owner To Sell Team

9-8-2014 4-02-05 PM

For the second time this year, the owner of a professional basketball team will be stepping down due to insensitive views made public. Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson will be selling his controlling stake in the franchise after admitting to a racially charged email sent two years ago on how the team could attract more white fans.

“I have been open with out executive team about these concerns. I have told them I want some white cheerleaders and while I don’t care what the color of the artist is, I want the music to be music familiar to a 40 year old white guys if that’s our season tixs demo,” an excerpt from Levenson’s email revealed. “I have also balked when every fan picked out of the crowd to shoot shots in some time-out contest is black. I have even bitched that the kiss cam is too black.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called Levenson’s 2012 email “entirely unacceptable,” but commended the former owner for self-reporting the instance to the league office. The scandal lead to a two-month investigation that conducted 19 interviews and scrutinized over 24,000 pieces of evidence.

The email sent to fellow Hawks executives speculated that the team’s black fans “scared away the whites” and that there were “not enough affluent black fans to build a significant season ticket base.”

Levenson admitted to the email two months after Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling was banned for making racial slurs recorded on tape. It was during an interview with CNN at this time when Levenson expressed his inability to remain partners with someone (Sterling) who holds those types of views.

“If you’re angry about what I wrote, you should be,” he said in an statement issued Sunday recanting the sentiments expressed in the controversial email. “I’m angry at myself, too. It was inflammatory nonsense. We all may have subtle biases and reconceptions 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.”

How do you think Bruce Levenson handled the situation? Should he be compared to Donald Sterling’s scandal? Read more on the issue HERE!

(Photo Credit: CNN/ New Day)