Controversy over Hawks owner’s offensive email spirals

Tarleshia Jean Pierre

Emmett Schindler, Reporter

After a mediocre season for the Atlanta Hawks, more troubling news befalls them this offseason. Owner Bruce Levenson decided to sell the team after revealing a controversial email with racist material.

The email, sent in 2012, prompted Levenson to turn himself in, possibly in an attempt to avoid a Donald Sterling-type situation.

In the email, Levenson stated, “My theory is that the black crowd scared away the whites and there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build a significant season ticket base.”

He also mentioned that the Hawks attracted an overwhelming black audience and pointed out the lack of fathers and sons at games. Levenson also compared the Hawks fan base to Washington, which contains a large African American population. Even though Levenson apologized to the fans and expressed remorse about the situation, he decided to remove himself from the franchise.

Levenson resigning from his position and going out of his way to set things straight displays the high standards the NBA has set regarding to racial discrimination. Before the Donald Sterling case, people did not react as passionately to the problem.

“The email shows that those stereotypes of what he believes were in place for at least two more years, since it’s 2014. It’s just disappointing because that’s not what Atlanta’s all about,  and that’s not what this great state of Georgia is about,” senior Spencer Maddox said.

The Hawks have never been known for racism; in fact they stand as one of the least known teams in professional sports. They never won a championship in Atlanta, never advanced past the second round of the playoffs, and have never boasted a superstar on the team. So when this news broke, people were shocked, and hardly anyone knew who the owner was. In a way, this whole situation has given the team relevancy.

Now with Levenson preparing to sell the team, the time is now for the Hawks to find a new owner. After 10 years, the Hawks need to find a new face to turn around the beleaguered franchise.