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Hawks owner and GM involved in racist action

  • 08-09-2014 10:35pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 8,391 ✭✭✭ D2D


    After the saga involving Donald Sterling and the Clippers (which resulted in Sterling receiving a lifetime ban from the NBA, a $2.5 Mil fine and being forced to sell the Clippers) earlier this year, yet another racism story about another team owner has broken.

    The Atlanta Hawks are up for sale amid a storm of racism controversy after leaked emails from owner Bruce Levenson became public. It emerged after Woj broke the news last night - http://sports.yahoo.com/news/hawks-owner-bruce-levenson-to-sell-team-after-revealing-he-wrote-racist-email-155827737.html

    In the email, which can be read here, Levenson reportedly said that the Hawks fanbase is made up of too many black people and is scaring away white people from attending games:

    "-- it's 70 pct black
    -- the cheerleaders are black
    -- the music is hip hop
    -- at the bars it's 90 pct black
    -- there are few fathers and sons at the games
    -- we are doing after game concerts to attract more fans and the concerts are either hip hop or gospel."

    "My theory is that the black crowd scared away the whites and there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build a signficant season ticket base. Please dont get me wrong. There was nothing threatening going on in the arean back then. i never felt uncomfortable, but i think southern whites simply were not comfortable being in an arena or at a bar where they were in the minority. On fan sites i would read comments about how dangerous it is around philips yet in our 9 years, i don't know of a mugging or even a pick pocket incident. This was just racist garbage. When I hear some people saying the arena is in the wrong place I think it is code for there are too many blacks at the games."

    Levenson also complained the team had too many black cheerleaders.

    "I have told them I want some white cheerleaders and while I don't care what the color of the artist is, i want the music to be music familiar to a 40 year old white guy if that's our season tixs demo,"

    Levenson continued on and wrote in the email: "I have also balked when every fan picked out of crowd to shoot shots in some timeout contest is black. I have even bitched that the kiss cam is too black."

    It has also emerged that from a conference call in June where owners were being informed of potential free agents the Hawks could chase this summer, team general manager Danny Ferry allegedly said this about Luol Deng:

    “He’s still a young guy overall,” Ferry said, league sources with direct knowledge of the probe told Yahoo. “He’s a good guy overall. But he’s not perfect. He’s got some African in him. And I don’t say that in a bad way.”

    Leverson has since apologised, releasing a statement earlier today, which can be read here


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,287 ✭✭✭ padraig_f


    Doug Thonus had a good piece on it today:
    Bruce Levenson's email, racist, capitalistic, or both?

    Makes a good case I think, sounds like the guy didn't care about black or white, he just wanted to make money.


    @BullsBlogger also had an amusing take on it: 'Too bad Reinsdorf doesn't use email because otherwise you'd have to think "our fans identify with Kirk Hinrich" would be on record somewhere'


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,510 ✭✭✭ Hazys


    The Owner's email is only very slightly racist to me as its more crassly written than what you would see any corporate marketing firm email would do when talking about demographics that are economical, social and cultural.

    Something tells me he wouldn't have a problem if affluent blacks were attending his games.

    There is definitely more to this story...seems like a weird cover up to me. Especially since the email has been known for over two months and they just decided to release it 30 minutes before the NFL season kicked off.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 4,714 Mod ✭✭✭✭ GoldFour4


    I have mixed feelings on this. The email isn't phrased very well but it's clear that the guy just wants the team to sell as many season tickets as possible and to make as much money as possible. He seems genuinely annoyed at himself for the way he sent the email.

    As terrible as it sounds I'm sure there are emails like this sent internally around businesses all the time. When examining how they can improve revenue and the likes business leaders have to discuss demographics and the target market.

    Not at all making excuses for the email, just don't think it's anywhere near the same level as Sterling.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,638 ✭✭✭ ec18


    I have mixed feelings on this. The email isn't phrased very well but it's clear that the guy just wants the team to sell as many season tickets as possible and to make as much money as possible. He seems genuinely annoyed at himself for the way he sent the email.

    As terrible as it sounds I'm sure there are emails like this sent internally around businesses all the time. When examining how they can improve revenue and the likes business leaders have to discuss demographics and the target market.

    Not at all making excuses for the email, just don't think it's anywhere near the same level as Sterling.

    I agree I don't think it warrants the same response. I don't think it's racist just poorly and crudely written.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,832 ✭✭✭ NufcNavan


    People can call it racist (and it is in a way) but all advertising in the US is based on the target audience of the affluent middle class white people. Surely selling NBA tickets to an intended demographic that is going to maximise ticket sales is just a continuation of that.


    Look at the Beyonce Pepsi ad, where she's airbrushed to f*ck and her skin is a much paler version of how she actually looks. Is that because it suits the ad? No, it's because a 'whiter' Beyonce is going to sell more pepsi to the white demographic than if she was shown in her original skin tone. Horrible way of looking at it but that's how it works unfortunately.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,758 ✭✭✭ RedemptionZ


    That's a joke, Levenson quite clearly wants to sell as much season tickets as possible. He couldn't give two fcuks about what colour their skin is as long as they'll give him their money. He says that he has a theory that the reason the main season ticket market(middle aged white men) aren't going is because they're intimidated by the majority black fans. Whether that theory is correct I don't know but it's purely about him trying to target his most valuable customer base.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6 PerfectScore


    Can't really see how this is racist at all.

    Uncomfortable facts, sure. But it sounds like the messy Atlanta ownership group is trying to sell the team while the gettin's good after Clippers sold for $2B LOL


  • Registered Users Posts: 59 ✭✭ nzamcdza


    Ridiculous situation. Not racist at all and I suspect he may have threw himself under the bus when he seen the clips go for 2 BILLION!


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