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.
Kawhi Leonard Probable for Tuesday Debut
The Spurs listed forward Kawhi Leonard as probable for Tuesday’s road matchup at Dallas, which means it’s likely that the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year will make his season debut against the Mavericks.
The club originally targeted Saturday’s game at Phoenix as a potential debut for Leonard, but sources on Friday said the forward wanted “a couple more days” to recover from the right quadriceps tendinopathy that has kept him out of all 27 of the Spurs’ games thus far this season.
Source: Michael C. Wright of ESPN
Sources: Hornets’ Cody Zeller Undergoes Surgery, to Miss 6 Weeks
Charlotte Hornets center Cody Zeller will undergo surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee on Tuesday, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. He’s expected to miss six weeks.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN
Clips’ Danilo Gallinari Suffers New Glute Injury
On the same night the LA Clippers will welcome back one starter, another starter re-exits the lineup due to injury.
Power forward Danilo Gallinari, who missed 13 games with a glute injury and returned to action this past Wednesday, will miss Monday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors due to what coach Doc Rivers says is a new glute injury suffered in Gallinari’s second game back Saturday against the Washington Wizards.
Source: Lawrence Murray of ESPN