Just weeks after the forced final sale of the Clippers, news of another a racially charged email from an NBA owner has surfaced. This time the source was Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson, who condemned himself for the self-reported email and announced that he was going to sell his ownership of the team. Apparently, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was right when he warned back in April that the NBA was on a "very slippery slope."
When pressure first began to mount to force Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell the team, Mark Cuban told the Associated Press that while there’s “no place” for racism in the league, forcing Sterling to sell his team for remarks made in a private conversation would set the league on a “very, very, very slippery slope”:
"Again, there's no excuse for his positions. There's no excuse for what he said. There's no excuse for anybody to support racism. There's no place for it in our league, but there's a very, very, very slippery slope."
Cuban then widened the scope of the debate:
"But regardless of your background, regardless of the history they have, if we're taking something somebody said in their home and we're trying to turn it into something that leads to you being forced to divest property in any way, shape or form, that's not the United States of America. I don't want to be part of that."
In the end, Cuban walked back his warning and agreed with the decision to force Sterling out, tweeting, "I agree 100% with Commissioner Silvers findings and the action taken against Donald Sterling."
Now, only weeks after the finalization of the coerced sale of the Clippers, another NBA owner is out. This time the owner self-reported (though under what circumstances is speculation), showing the NBA a private email sent to execs in 2012 that said that the team needed to gear its games toward more affluent white audiences in hopes to gain more season ticket sales. TMZ reports:
Levenson admits he sent the email to team execs back in 2012, urging them to get more suburban white fans at games. He then laid out all the problems with the current fan base, listing the following:
- 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
- the concerts [after games] are either hip hop or gospel
Levenson continued in the email ... "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 complained that he's told team execs, "I want some white cheerleaders ... I have even bitched that the kiss cam is too black."