We now have another case of racism in an NBA boardroom, this time appearing down in Atlanta.
Hawk's owner Bruce Leveson, in self-reporting a racist email he sent to senior members of the Hawks' franchise in 2012, released this statement:
"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."
Owner of the team since 2004, Levenson notified the League last night of his intention to sell the team. League Commissioner Adam Silver released this statement earlier today:
"Following Bruce Levenson notifying the league office this July of his August 2012 email, the NBA commenced an independent investigation regarding the circumstances of Mr. Levenson's comments. Prior to the completion of the investigation, Mr. Levenson notified me last evening that he had decided to sell his controlling interest in the Atlanta Hawks. As Mr. Levenson acknowledged, the views he expressed are entirely unacceptable and are in stark contrast to the core principles of the National Basketball Association. He shared with me how truly remorseful he is for using those hurtful words and how apologetic he is to the entire NBA family — fans, players, team employees, business partners and fellow team owners — for having diverted attention away from our game. I commend Mr. Levenson for self-reporting to the league office, 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. We will be working with the Hawks ownership group on the appropriate process for the sale of the team and I have offered our full support to Hawks CEO Steve Koonin, who will now oversee all team operations. The NBA and its teams have long had in place anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies in order to facilitate respectful and diverse workplaces. Earlier this summer, the league re-doubled its efforts by, among other things, making it mandatory for all league and team personnel to receive annual training on these issues."
So its apparent that the two biggest sports leagues in the country have some serious HR issues to deal with, but with another instance of racism plaguing a league dominated by Black players, the NBA is being exposed to serious instances of civil rights violations in the boardroom.
There is more to come on this developing story, and we at The Shadow League will be watching it closely.