Monday, September 8, 2014

Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenosn pulls a Donald Sterling?

No doubt:

Mark Cuban was most likely privy to how his fellow NBA owners chopped it up with each other when he voiced his opposition to former LA Clipper owner Donald Sterling losing his team after Sterling's racist comments were made public.

You may remember, Cuban stated:

"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."

Yesterday another NBA owner fell off this slippery slope.

Atlanta Hawk principal owner Bruce Levenson has decided to sell his controlling share of the Hawks after his self-reported e-mail revealed very sensitive racial stereotyping.

Here's some highlights:

In the e-mail, in which Levenson wrote to Hawks President Danny Ferry about how to increase the team’s white fan base, he “sent the unintentional and hurtful message that our white fans are more valuable than our black fans,” Levenson recognized in the statement today.

In the e-mail he complained about the lack of white cheerleaders, the majority black patrons at bars and the lack of fathers and sons going together as a reason why season-ticket sales were low.

 “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,” Levenson wrote. Although he said that “I don’t care what the color of the artist is” he wanted music that is “familiar to a 40 year old white guy if that’s our season tix demo.”  source

Businessman or Racist?
I lived in Atlanta for a minute -- I worked for an events planning company, thus I have some informed insight -- and Levenson's observation of the color divide -- unfortunately -- is not that far off. Atlanta, although a mecca for upwardly moving professional blacks, is still far south of the Mason-Dixon line.
 From my brief ATL experience, if you hold or sponsor an event it is labeled a black or a white event from the get go. If an event has 30%  or more blacks it becomes a black event and the demographic of white males aged 35-55 want nothing to do with it.
It doesn't matter how hip, safe, affluent, popular, entertaining, or socially connected, the vast percentage of 35-55 white males collectively state: "We pass"
Mr. Levenson was inarticulately clumsy in stating the obvious:
In our so-called post-racism age, this southern demographic that heavily supports the GOP, The Tea Party, Fox TV, hate radio and absolutely hates all things President Obama are not comfortable sitting next to black folks (or Asians, Latinos or any other minority group) not named Herman Cain or Clarence Thomas.
This neo-confederate and ever growing xenophobic group only attend events (NASCAR) in which they are the huge majority -- 85% or more.  
Yet and still, I gotta ask, was Levenson looking for a deep pocket buyer:
Here's another perspective: Just think, Mr. Levenson, ever the businessman, peeped how Donald Sterling, after being forced to sell the Clippers, got Two Billion dollars, maybe Levenson snitched on himself to get a DS like payday.
I'm just saying...


  1. It doesn't make much sense to me to tie this to politics. Being that Atlanta is south = white Republicans = hate for all things Obama doesn't jibe with me. But, whatever. We've had enough political disagreements for a lifetime. To each their own.

    What I find to be "obvious" here can be seen by simply switching the scenario.

    When a group wants more young black kids to be attracted to, say, golf, there is a very businesslike way that gets approached -- even by those who are social advocates and not businesspeople. Golf needs more black faces. It needs more that blacks can relate to. At its current juncture, it appeals to whites disproportionately.

    Same thing with baseball. I remember a push a few years back, claiming that there weren't enough black players in baseball, and that there wasn't enough black culture in MLB. To get more black people interested in baseball, it needed more black faces, more that appealed to black audiences.

    I think "scared away" is poor terminology. But the message is pretty benign. According to data (which the owner assumed was accurate, apparently), white people are more likely to buy season tickets -- not single tickets or small packages, but the big shebang. If they aren't buying them, perhaps there's not enough white representation to appeal to white people.

    I'm not sure how this is even on the same planet as Donald Sterling's obvious racist self. He's stating, as a white person, what non-whites state consistently about demographics.

    To borrow something from you: It doesn't matter how hip, safe, affluent, popular, entertaining, or socially connected, the vast percentage of all black people collectively state: "We pass"

    "On what" you ask? Country music, NASCAR, and plenty of other things that are predominantly white. Why is it racially driven the other way around?

    As to the guy's true intentions, I don't have enough to go on to form an opinion. On his language, it's only racist if we're to truly hold races to separate standards.

  2. First...Please read my tongue-in-cheek post one more time for more comprehension...I stated that I believed Mr. Levenson was making good business observations:

    "Mr. Levenson was inarticulately clumsy in stating the obvious"

    I never stated Mr. Levenson was racist nor do I believe him to be. He was just stating why whites who heavily attend NBA games in other arenas like in Utah, Denver, Toronto, LA, DC, Philly, Indiana, NYC, Chicago, Boston, Minnesota and on and on.

    He drew the conclusion that too many blacks in ATL scared away white southern consumers.... I agree! We do...

  3. The identity of indiscernibles.