Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson to sell team after racist email
ATLANTA, GA.(CNN)- Another NBA owner will lose his franchise because of racist remarks, but it doesn’t appear the Atlanta Hawks’ Bruce Levenson wants to follow the prolonged path to being stripped of his team that Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling took this year.
Levenson announced in a statement that he will sell his controlling stake in the team after an “e-mail two years ago that was inappropriate and offensive.”
The exact remarks made in the email weren’t clear, but Levenson said it involved the interests of the team’s white and black fans — including music and the race of cheerleaders — and whether the team’s “white fans might be afraid of our black fans.”
In focusing on low attendance at Hawks games and the need to boost season-ticket sales and corporate sponsors, Levenson said, he talked with executives about diversifying the fan base and including more suburban whites. During those discussions, “I shared my thoughts on why our efforts to bridge Atlanta’s racial sports divide seemed to be failing,” he wrote.
“I trivialized our fans by making cliched 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),” he said in his statement. “By focusing on race, I also sent the unintentional and hurtful message that our white fans are more valuable than our black fans.”
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