Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson is selling his controlling interest in the team because of a self-reported email he wrote to the team’s co-owners and general manager Danny Ferry in August 2012 that he called “inappropriate and offensive.”
Levenson comments, “In trying to address those issues, I wrote an e-mail two years ago that was inappropriate and offensive,” he said. “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.”
Levenson continued, “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.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement, “I commend Mr. Levenson for self-reporting to the league office, for being fully cooperative with the league and its independent investigator, and for putting the best interests of the Hawks, the Atlanta community.