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NBA's Atlanta Hawks For Sale After Revelation of Owner's Racist E-Mail
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jariel Offline
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NBA's Atlanta Hawks For Sale After Revelation of Owner's Racist E-Mail
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Quote:Months after advocating for the removal of former Clippers owner Donald Sterling due to racist comments that were caught on tape, Hawks owner Bruce Levenson has decided to sell his controlling interest in the team because of a 2012 email in which he expressed racial stereotypes about his fan base.

The NBA announced Sunday that Levenson agreed to sell his stake in the team before a league investigation of the email could be completed.

"The views he expressed are entirely unacceptable and are in stark contrast to the core principles of the National Basketball Association," commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. "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."

Levenson, who made his fortune as a co-founder of United Communications Group, had served as Atlanta's representative at NBA Board of Governors meetings since 2004. Hawks COO Steve Koonin will oversee team operations during the sale process.

The email in question -- which Levenson called "inappropriate and offensive" and which he self-reported to the NBA, according to Silver -- was sent in August 2012. Stemming from his desire for the Hawks to build up a "more diverse fan base that includes more suburban whites," Levenson acknowledged that he leaned on stereotypes to describe groups of fans.

"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," Levenson wrote in a statement. "If you’re angry about what I wrote, you should be. I’m angry at myself, too. It was inflammatory nonsense."

Levenson added that he was "truly embarrassed by my words" and he issued an apology to Hawks employees and fans.

The email -- which addressed the in-game experience at Philips arena, among other topics -- has been released by the Hawks. Excerpts of the sensitive material are below.

Quote: 4. Regarding game ops, i need to start with some background. for the first couple of years we owned the team, i didn't much focus on game ops. then one day a light bulb went off. when digging into why our season ticket base is so small, i was told it is because we can't get 35-55 white males and corporations to buy season tixs and they are the primary demo for season tickets around the league. when i pushed further, folks generally shrugged their shoulders. then i start looking around our arena during games and notice 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

-- we are doing after game concerts to attract more fans and the concerts are either hip hop or gospel.

Then i start looking around at other arenas. It is completely different. Even DC with its affluent black community never has more than 15 pct black audience.

Before we bought the hawks and for those couple years immediately after in an effort to make the arena look full (at the nba's urging) thousands and thousands of tickets were being giving away, predominantly in the black community, adding to the overwhelming black audience.

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.

I have been open with our executive team about these concerns. 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. i have also balked when every fan picked out of crowd to shoot shots in some time out contest is black. I have even bitched that the kiss cam is too black.

Gradually things have changed. My unscientific guess is that our crowd is 40 pct black now, still four to five times all other teams. And my further guess is that 40 pct still feels like 70 pet to some whites at our games. Our bars are still overwhelmingly black.

This is obviously a sensitive topic, but sadly i think it is far and way the number one reason our season ticket base is so low.

And many of our black fans don't have the spendable income which explains why our f&b and merchandise sales are so low. At all white thrasher games sales were nearly triple what they are at hawks games (the extra intermission explains some of that but not all).

Regardless of what time a game starts, we have the latest arriving crowd in the league. It often looks and sounds empty when the team takes the floor.

...

Our player intro is flat. We manufacture a lot of noise but because of the late arriving crowd and the fact that a lot of blacks dont seem to go as crazy cheering (another one of my theories) as whites, it is not great. Even when we have just returned from winnng four straight on the road, i am one of the few people in the arena standing and cheering when our team takes the floor. Bob has kicked around ideas like having the starters coming down aisles rather than off the bench during intros. Sounds cool but may highlight all the empty seats at the start of games.

Back in April, Levenson publicly stated that he would support an attempt by Silver and the NBA to oust Sterling, telling Atlanta radio station 92.9 FM that the league needed to have a "zero-tolerance policy against racism and discrimination in any form."

The Hawks have struggled from an attendance perspective despite making the playoffs in each of the past seven seasons. Atlanta ranked No. 28 in home attendance last season -- beating only the Sixers and Bucks, the two worst teams in the league. The Hawks have not ranked among the NBA's top 15 teams in home attendance at any point in the last 10 years. Forbes ranked the Hawks No. 27 in its latest franchise valuations, pegging the franchise's value at $425 million.

In 2011, Levenson attempted to sell the Hawks to California businessman Alex Meruelo, but the deal ultimately fell through.

http://www.si.com/nba/2014/09/07/bruce-l...d-sterling

The whole e-mail needs to be released, not just excerpts, also the NBA has a serious problem, there's probably racist info out there about most of the owners in the league.

I don't get mad at the owners though, I look at the players, who are mostly uneducated and uncouth jackasses. They score and hold up their jerseys, representing what is a corporation, not a team, they run around wearing Team USA jerseys, forgetting the injustices that exist for people who look like them just because someone else is giving them millions of dollars, and they don't dare speak out when things happen that we as a society should question, because who cares when you're rich, right?

Fuck 'em all.

I'll let the betas of our society keep wearing their jerseys and tattooing them on their bodies.
09-07-2014 12:22 PM
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The Great Basilisk Offline
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RE: NBA's Atlanta Hawks For Sale After Revelation of Owner's Racist E-Mail
How is this email racist again?
09-07-2014 12:30 PM
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RE: NBA's Atlanta Hawks For Sale After Revelation of Owner's Racist E-Mail
Seems like he's just talking demographics and marketing.

It's "racist" because he dared insinuated that blacks spend differently than whites and also put out a certain perception to other races.

It's just a matter of time until these racist/sexist witch hunts hit against basic economics and business sense, where actually believing in true equality and lack of race will cause your business to lose a lot of money.

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09-07-2014 12:37 PM
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polymath Offline
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RE: NBA's Atlanta Hawks For Sale After Revelation of Owner's Racist E-Mail
Yeah, I don't think he was being racist. He's a businessman and it's his job to make his business profitable. If one demographic doesn't buy season tickets, what's wrong with catering to a demographic that does?
09-07-2014 12:42 PM
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monster Offline
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RE: NBA's Atlanta Hawks For Sale After Revelation of Owner's Racist E-Mail
(09-07-2014 12:30 PM)The Great Basilisk Wrote:  How is this email racist again?

Yeah, I'm not seeing anything racist either. There's a big difference between customer profiling and racism. Customer profiling has the end-objective of earning more money for the corporation by attracting customers of all different socio-economic classes - it wants to include all demographics because that means more money spent!

Americans want to feel offended about something, and it's getting out of hand.
(This post was last modified: 09-07-2014 12:45 PM by monster.)
09-07-2014 12:42 PM
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dads Offline
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RE: NBA's Atlanta Hawks For Sale After Revelation of Owner's Racist E-Mail
Racism in 2014: Acknowledging there are differences between whites and blacks
09-07-2014 12:43 PM
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Switch Offline
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RE: NBA's Atlanta Hawks For Sale After Revelation of Owner's Racist E-Mail
Public figures just need to stop making any comments about race, public or private, because the PC lynch mobs are always waiting to take anyone down who doesn't exactly agree with them. It's sad really, because race is still such an obvious problem in this country, but everyone gets uber butthhurt when anyone starts to talk about it in a factual and truthful way.

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09-07-2014 12:46 PM
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jariel Offline
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RE: NBA's Atlanta Hawks For Sale After Revelation of Owner's Racist E-Mail
(09-07-2014 12:46 PM)Switch Wrote:  Public figures just need to stop making any comments about race, public or private, because the PC lynch mobs are always waiting to take anyone down who doesn't exactly agree with them. It's sad really, because race is still such an obvious problem in this country, but everyone gets uber butthhurt when anyone starts to talk about it in a factual and truthful way.

All the more reason the entire e-mail needs to be released.

Also, are we supposed to believe that he shared these types of thoughts one time in one e-mail?

I highly doubt that.

I don't think it's fair to call the guy a racist, but if he's sharing these types of thoughts privately while publicly denouncing Donald Sterling, at a minimum, he's a hypocrite.
09-07-2014 12:50 PM
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scorpion Offline
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RE: NBA's Atlanta Hawks For Sale After Revelation of Owner's Racist E-Mail
This is far and away the most inoffensive evidence of "racism" I've ever seen. You've literally got to be kidding me. Seriously, quote the lines in that email that you think are racist.

I also find it really bizarre he "self-reported" this to the commissioner. Either someone was trying to blackmail him or he was already looking to sell his share in the team and figured he could get a good price in this way. It's very strange otherwise, because there's literally nothing offensive at all in that email.

If we're honestly at the point where saying, "Middle aged white guys spend more money, therefore we want to increase the number of middle aged white guys who attend our games," is racist, then we're done. We're just done as a country. We can just go ahead and close up shop, because when racial grievance mongering is trumping basics economics and business sense, there is no future for anyone.

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” - Romans 8:18
09-07-2014 12:50 PM
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RE: NBA's Atlanta Hawks For Sale After Revelation of Owner's Racist E-Mail
(09-07-2014 12:37 PM)Roosh Wrote:  "basic economics and business sense"

I used these exact words while typing up my post prior to reading yours. scorpion-Roosh mind meld.

Creepy!

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09-07-2014 12:54 PM
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jariel Offline
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RE: NBA's Atlanta Hawks For Sale After Revelation of Owner's Racist E-Mail
The Entire E-Mail

Quote:From: Bruce Levenson

Sent: 8/25/2012 11:47:02 PM

Subject: Re: Business/Game ops

1. from day one i have been impressed with the friendliness and professionalism of the arena staff — food vendors, ushers, ticket takers, etc. in our early years when i would bring folks from dc they were blown away by the contrast between abe pollin’s arena and philips. some of this is attributable to southern hospital and manners but bob and his staff do a good job of training. To this day, I can not get the ushers to call me Bruce yet they insist on me calling them by their first names.

2. the non-premium area food is better than most arenas, though that is not saying much. i think there is room for improvement and creativity. Levy is our food vendor so we don’t have much control but they have been good partners. i have wished we had some inconic offereing like boog’s barbeque at the baseball stadium in balt.

3. our new restaurant, red, just opened so too early for me to give you my thoughts.

4. Regarding game ops, i need to start with some background. for the first couple of years we owned the team, i didn’t much focus on game ops. then one day a light bulb went off. when digging into why our season ticket base is so small, i was told it is because we can’t get 35-55 white males and corporations to buy season tixs and they are the primary demo for season tickets around the league. when i pushed further, folks generally shrugged their shoulders. then i start looking around our arena during games and notice 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

– we are doing after game concerts to attract more fans and the concerts are either hip hop or gospel.

Then i start looking around at other arenas. It is completely different. Even DC with its affluent black community never has more than 15 pct black audience.

Before we bought the hawks and for those couple years immediately after in an effort to make the arena look full (at the nba’s urging) thousands and thousands of tickets were being giving away, predominantly in the black community, adding to the overwhelming black audience.

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.

I have been open with our executive team about these concerns. 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. i have also balked when every fan picked out of crowd to shoot shots in some time out contest is black. I have even bitched that the kiss cam is too black.

Gradually things have changed. My unscientific guess is that our crowd is 40 pct black now, still four to five times all other teams. And my further guess is that 40 pct still feels like 70 pet to some whites at our games. Our bars are still overwhelmingly black.

This is obviously a sensitive topic, but sadly i think it is far and way the number one reason our season ticket base is so low.

And many of our black fans don’t have the spendable income which explains why our f&b and merchandise sales are so low. At all white thrasher games sales were nearly triple what they are at hawks games (the extra intermission explains some of that but not all).

Regardless of what time a game starts, we have the latest arriving crowd in the league. It often looks and sounds empty when the team takes the floor.

In the past two years, we have created a section of rowdy college students that has been a big plus. And we do a lot of very clever stuff during time outs to entertain the crowd. Our kiss cam is better done than any in the league.

We have all the same halftime acts that other arenas have but i question whether they make sense. people are on their cell phones during half time. i wonder if flashing on the scoreboard “$2 off on hot dogs during halftime tonight” just as the half ends would be a better use of our halftime dollars and make the fans happier.

We do all the usual giveways and the fans are usually their loudest when our spirit crew takes the floor to give away t-shirts. It pisses me off that they will yell louder for a t-shirt then for our players.

Our player intro is flat. We manufacture a lot of noise but because of the late arriving crowd and the fact that a lot of blacks dont seem to go as crazy cheering (another one of my theories) as whites, it is not great. Even when we have just returned from winnng four straight on the road, i am one of the few people in the arena standing and cheering when our team takes the floor. Bob has kicked around ideas like having the starters coming down aisles rather than off the bench during intros. Sounds cool but may highlight all the empty seats at the start of games.

Not enough of our fans wear hawks jerseys to games. i have just begun to push for ideas like discount food lines for folks wearing jerseys, special entrances, etc. I think we need a committed and perhaps incentivized fan club. We need to realize atl is simply different than every other city. Just adopting nba best practices is not enough. we have to create our own.

I am rambling and could probably go on forever. If you have any specific areas you would like my thoughts on, let me know.

Best,

Bruce

ps — I have cc’d todd and ed so they can chime in with additional or different thoughts.

Sent from my iPad
09-07-2014 12:57 PM
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RE: NBA's Atlanta Hawks For Sale After Revelation of Owner's Racist E-Mail
Quote:"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."

This is apparently what racism looks like in 2014.

And blacks wonder why whites are losing patience with this whole charade.

jariel, how do you think your great-grandfather would react if you could have a conversation with him and tell him about this story? Do you think he'd decry it as a terrible indication of racism? Or would he not even begin to understand what the fuss was about, much less how such an innocuous (and dare I say it, anti-racist) statement could ever be construed as racist?

I'm afraid you've simply been caught up in racial fear-mongering and hysteria following the Sterling case and the Michael Brown incident.

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09-07-2014 01:07 PM
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RE: NBA's Atlanta Hawks For Sale After Revelation of Owner's Racist E-Mail
They want to ride the Sterling momentum to indict this guy. And it will work to a degree.

His logic is sound. If anything, he is questioning whites for not going to a game mostly attended by blacks, but he's tasked with making money, so he has to entice them. I doubt any savvy black entrepreneur would act differently.

I can assure you, public transit in LA by bus is exactly the same. Aside from a few hipsters and tourists, middle class Angelenos see the bus as full of poor Hispanics and blacks, and thus not fit for themselves. It's quite the opposite of racism to notice that. Not that the busing system is perfect - it depends on your circumstances. But many people never even consider it because "buses are for ghetto people." They'll never say that outright of course. And I've mentioned this before in polite company, and some people will be taken aback, and wonder if *I* am racist, when if anything, it is the cowardly yuppies who are.
(This post was last modified: 09-07-2014 01:18 PM by Basil Ransom.)
09-07-2014 01:17 PM
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RE: NBA's Atlanta Hawks For Sale After Revelation of Owner's Racist E-Mail
Email seems legit. This is what happens when people assume that profits are automatic and that money is flowing everywhere. SJWs don't realize that it takes hard work to get money, and sometimes you have to confront dicey topics like this.

We have a whole generation growing up without holding jobs...being given college educations...and then working for nonprofits. None of my generation (twenty year olds) have had to build the basic business principles that used to be widespread, when everyone owned their own livelihood and needed good business practices to live.
09-07-2014 01:19 PM
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RE: NBA's Atlanta Hawks For Sale After Revelation of Owner's Racist E-Mail
Moral of the story: never discuss race or gender in any form of written communication. If you must, liberally employ euphemisms.
09-07-2014 01:29 PM
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RE: NBA's Atlanta Hawks For Sale After Revelation of Owner's Racist E-Mail
(09-07-2014 12:57 PM)jariel Wrote:  Sent from my iPad

Not to take away from the discussion but I'm amazed someone was ablt to draft such a long email on an ipad. My ipad emails are limited to two sentences because I can't type on that thing.
09-07-2014 01:30 PM
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RE: NBA's Atlanta Hawks For Sale After Revelation of Owner's Racist E-Mail
(09-07-2014 01:07 PM)scorpion Wrote:  
Quote:"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."

This is apparently what racism looks like in 2014.

Meanwhile, we have nakedly discriminatory admissions and hiring practices in schools and workplaces, respectively--because apparently we have too many Asians and whites in these arenas, and too few blacks and latinos.

We call it "affirmative action," and laud it as teh best thing evar in the name of diversity and justice.

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(This post was last modified: 09-07-2014 01:33 PM by Kabal.)
09-07-2014 01:33 PM
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Post: #18
RE: NBA's Atlanta Hawks For Sale After Revelation of Owner's Racist E-Mail
We black people are in deep deep shit!! Since this is now considered racist by the PC police, people will start to loose their $ opportunities by not being able to speak the truth.

And when enough people will be angry about it... then watch out... just like with feminism. Unfortunately this one is a no way out for us black people. The only way we could strongly reduce the aggression from true racism is by having a strong family unity in our communities,thus reducing government assistance, but that ain't happening anytime soon!

Life is so ironic! The very liberal people feeling good at night about protecting me as a black person are actually fucking up my environment by increasing the buried hate from people by not being allowing them to simply speak the truth. You simply can't fuck with the truth, and the PC cops are trying to bury it. Bad for everyone!
09-07-2014 01:59 PM
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RE: NBA's Atlanta Hawks For Sale After Revelation of Owner's Racist E-Mail
His problem is that he is attributing some behaviors with black and some white white. For example:

Quote:Our player intro is flat. We manufacture a lot of noise but because of the late arriving crowd and the fact that a lot of blacks dont seem to go as crazy cheering (another one of my theories) as whites, it is not great.

You can't do this in 2014, even though you should be able to. All marketers who care about making money do when they create profiles of their typical consumer (Homemaker Jane, Busy Jennifer, Single Mom Rachel, etc.). Ten years ago, he'd be decried as "stereotyping", but now this is called "racism."

Keep in mind that racism is supposed to mean a hatred of a certain race. I read that email I don't believe he hates blacks... he just wants to make more money.

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09-07-2014 02:06 PM
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Post: #20
RE: NBA's Atlanta Hawks For Sale After Revelation of Owner's Racist E-Mail
Anybody remember this film:

[Image: 220px-Great_white_hype_ver2.jpg]

Seems relevant.
09-07-2014 02:25 PM
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lskdfjldsf Offline
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Post: #21
RE: NBA's Atlanta Hawks For Sale After Revelation of Owner's Racist E-Mail
I always fuck around with my liberal friends by taking a given racial grievance, and substituting people with variables. Present the issue to them as if it's an equation, and watch their heads explode when they find themselves agreeing with you.

- Fact 1: Fan base is primarily black (statistically verifiable)
- Fact 2: White, middle aged men spend more on merchandise than black fans (statistically verifiable)
- Fact 3: The NBA is a for-profit business.
- Fact 4: The goal of a for-profit business is to maximize income from goods or services sold.

And the implication is that he's a "racist" because of the demographics of these facts? He simply illustrated the differences as anyone working in marketing would.

The crime in 2014 is believing that culture - or shared attributes between a common group - can consist of anything other than positive traits. Liberals can't deny this, as their entire philosophy is hinged on celebrating and protecting just about every imaginable distinction between individuals. Just because a fact or argument has a negative implication towards people (a result other than glowingly positive), doesn't mean the person presenting it is demeaning that group or considers himself racially superior, and most importantly, it doesn't mean the argument is invalid.
(This post was last modified: 09-07-2014 02:44 PM by lskdfjldsf.)
09-07-2014 02:40 PM
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Jeans Offline
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Post: #22
RE: NBA's Atlanta Hawks For Sale After Revelation of Owner's Racist E-Mail
Something's up here. Even the NYtimes wouldn't fully endorse this as racist language, titling the story (note quotations around 'offensive') "Co-Owner to Sell Hawks Because of ‘Offensive’ Email."

The fact that Levenson self-reported this, had purportedly tried to sell his share previously in 2011(and failed), and furthermore clearly considered the franchise's business to be lagging, suggests that he might have been so desperate to sell that he self-engineered a scenario in which ownership of the franchise would necessarily be usurped one way or another.

Either that, or the whole Donald Sterling thing (amongst many other "racially charged" non-scandals) got this guy so paranoid that he just wanted to eject ship on his own terms before waiting for anything to blow up in face and do irreversible damage his image and business interests.

Or maybe some combination of the two.
09-07-2014 02:42 PM
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MikeCF Offline
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Post: #23
RE: NBA's Atlanta Hawks For Sale After Revelation of Owner's Racist E-Mail
This email is funny.

The owner basically calls white people racists. "Why don't they come to our games? It's because they are racists who don't like blacks."

And then he loses his job.

These stories crack me up.

They are proof that you must simply live unapologetically and give no quarter to our adversaries. There is no reasonable middle ground. They want your soul, your whole soul.
09-07-2014 02:53 PM
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ryanf Offline
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Post: #24
RE: NBA's Atlanta Hawks For Sale After Revelation of Owner's Racist E-Mail
Where are the people trashing the privacy implications of the fappening on this one? They sure went quick and hard on how people violated Jennifer Lawrence's privacy. I highly doubt this guy self reported to just be a good egg, I'm sure someone is holding this over his head. Where are the privacy advocates now? *Crickets*

Uncle Hank from Requiem for a Dream is my spirit animal
09-07-2014 02:58 PM
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CRR Offline
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Post: #25
RE: NBA's Atlanta Hawks For Sale After Revelation of Owner's Racist E-Mail
My first instinct is that he just wants to sell the team and this was done on purpose.

My understanding is that attendance is down. They really haven't been an exciting team since Dominique Wilkens. I bet the NBA league office wants new ownership, someone who will really invest in the team and can get the sizable middle-class black population of Atlanta into the seats. A Mark Cuban type owner could certainly do that.

09-07-2014 03:00 PM
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