Atlanta Hawks controlling owner Bruce Levenson has self-reported to the NBA that he sent a racist e-mail in August 2012 and will sell his interest in the team.
Levenson reported the e-mail to the NBA in July, almost two years after it was sent but while the league was deep in litigation over the now-completed sale of the Los Angeles Clippers. The investigation was ongoing when Levenson decided to leave the team.
The e-mail, to Hawks President Danny Ferry, details Levenson’s belief that the Hawks’ fan base was too heavily African-American. (Scroll down for full text of the e-mail.)
In reading the email (follow the link), it does not strike me as overtly racist. He talks about race, but in the context of his team’s fan demographics and how to appeal to other demographics. This isn’t even close to what the Clippers owner was fond of spouting.
Given the nature of the email and the fact that it is two years old, I suspect that one of three things happened. One, Levenson is so hyper-PC that he really does think his email is racism. Two, someone threatened him and he decided to get out in front of it. It still paints him as hyper-PC, but perhaps just fearful of a press storm. Three, and I suspect most likely, Levenson saw that the Clippers sold for $2 billion and he wants to cash out, but there are some contractual obligations to the other owners that are not easy to circumvent. If the NBA forces him to sell, it’s a different story. Of course I am speculating, but there must be more to this story.