Another NBA owner has bitten the dust. On Sunday, Atlanta Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson announced he is selling his controlling interest in the team following an investigation into an email he wrote two years ago in an attempt “to bridge Atlanta’s racial sports divide.” Levenson’s decision follows the high profile lifetime ban handed down to former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling because of racially charged statements.
As TheBlaze reported, Levenson said he regrets the email sent to the team’s co-owners and general manager some two years ago - calling it “inappropriate and offensive.” In a statement released by the Hawks on Sunday, Levenson said he sent the email due to his concerns about low attendance and a need to attract suburban whites to the arena.
Below is an excerpt from the email:
Regarding game ops… when digging into why our season ticket base is so small, i was told it is because we can’t get 35-55 white males and corporations to buy season tixs and they are the primary demo for season tickets around the league. when i pushed further, folks generally shrugged their shoulders. then i start looking around our arena during games and notice 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
— we are doing after game concerts to attract more fans and the concerts are either hip hop or gospel.
My theory is that the black crowd scared away the whites and there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build a signficant season ticket base. Please dont get me wrong. There was nothing threatening going on in the arean 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. On fan sites i would read comments about how dangerous it is around philips yet in our 9 years, i don’t know of a mugging or even a pick pocket incident. This was just racist garbage. When I hear some people saying the arena is in the wrong place I think it is code for there are too many blacks at the games.
Read the entire email HERE.
So is Levenson a racist or a businessman looking to boost ticket sales?
NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has already come to Levenson’s defense in an op-ed for Time. While he called some of Levenson’s assumptions “cringe-worthy,” he said the conversation surrounding how to attract white fans was “entirely reasonable.”
On radio this morning, Glenn seconded Abdul-Jabbar’s sentiment.
“Take the race out of it. This is not ‘I don't like black people,’” Glenn said. “He is saying: 'The black constituency does not have the money for our season tickets. Our goal is to sell more season tickets. Who has the money? You have all told me it's these people. Well, then, if that that is the case, you need to target those people.'”
“This is awful,” he continued. “If he's racist on anything, he is racist on white people… He is assuming we are afraid of black people. I mean, what kind of racist remark is that?”
Front page image courtesy of the AP