Atlanta Hawks Owner Selling Team Over Racist Email

Bruce Levenson self-reported email he sent 2 years ago
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2014 12:05 PM CDT
Atlanta Hawks Owner Selling Team Over Racist Email
In this 2010 file photo, Atlanta Hawks owners Michael Gearon Jr., left, and Bruce Levenson attend an NBA game between the Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers in Atlanta.   (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

Bruce Levenson is unloading his controlling stake in the Atlanta Hawks over a racist email he sent two years ago, and he has an interesting person to blame for airing the email in the first place: Himself. It seems that in July Levenson self-reported an "inappropriate and offensive" email he sent in August 2012, reports ESPN. "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)," says Levenson in a statement. "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," he continues. Levenson notified the NBA last night of his intention to sell, notes CNN, and commissioner Adam Silver condemned the content of the email while applauding Levenson's decision. "I commend Mr. Levenson for self-reporting to the league office," said Silver, "for being fully cooperative with the league and its independent investigator, and for putting the best interests of the Hawks, the Atlanta community, and the NBA first." (And then there's Donald Sterling...)

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