The following statement was released today by Atlanta Hawks Controlling Owner Bruce Levenson:
“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.”
via NBA Press Releases
Here is the text of the E-mail.
Paul Millsap Returns to Practice, Return Still Unknown
Denver Nuggets forward Paul Millsap on Wednesday returned to his first full practice since undergoing left wrist surgery in November. Although Millsap said it felt good to be back with his teammates, he stopped short of putting an exact date on when he’ll return to game action.
“Hopefully pretty soon,” Millsap told reporters, according to the Denver Post. “It feels good now. We’ll see how it feels in the morning or after [Thursday’s] practice, and we’ll go from there. My intention was to come right back after the All-Star break and get into it, but we have to be smart about it. This was my first practice today, full contact, and I have to be smart about my wrist and my body.”
Mark Cuban Fined $600K for ‘Tanking’ Comments
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has been fined $600,000 by the NBA for saying his team should tank this season.
Cuban called tanking “brutal” but acknowledged that he told his team that it would be best to lose for the rest of the 2017-18 season. Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement that the fine was for “for public statements detrimental to the NBA.”
LeBron on Potential Playoff Reseeding: ‘Let’s not get too crazy’
Fresh off being named MVP of the NBA All-Star Game played in a reimagined format that seemingly reinvigorated the February festivities, LeBron James urged the league to pump the brakes when it comes to potential changes to the playoffs.
“It’s cool to mess around with the All-Star Game — we proved you can do that — but let’s not get too crazy about the playoffs,” James said after Cleveland Cavaliers practice Wednesday. “You have Eastern Conference and you have Western Conference. You have Eastern Conference champions, you have guys from the Eastern Conference that win the big dance and sometimes you have it from the West as well.”
Source: Dave McMenamin of ESPN