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.
Westbrook Notches Triple-Double as OKC Gets Win
It appeared a fitting beginning to Carmelo Anthony’s next chapter, a 3-pointer on his first possession with the Thunder, playing against his former team. Then he missed his next seven shots.
Like the rest of the Thunder, it was a slow burn as Anthony revved up in the second quarter and into the third, scoring 22 on 8-of-20 shooting in a 105-84 win over the Knicks on opening night. In their first regular-season game, there were some rough patches for the Thunder’s new big three, with Paul George missing a number of open looks and Anthony going cold at times, but in the end, talent prevailed. George finished with 28 on 9-of-23 shooting, and Russell Westbrook picked right up where he left off in his historic MVP season notching the first triple-double of this season with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 16 assists.
Source: Royce Young of ESPN
LeBron Vows to Improve his Conditioning
LeBron James says his left ankle feels strong enough to play in Friday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks. It’s the rest of his body that needs work.
“I just want to get to where I should be,” James said after participating in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ practice Thursday. “The ankle and the foot injury just kind of kept me out and set me back further than I would like, but I got some time now along the course of these games that we got. We got two back-to-backs coming up, so that’s going to help and we have some opportunity to get some practice time in as well.”
Source: Dave McMenamin of ESPN