LINK DUMP: Atlanta Hawks find selves amidst Donald Sterling-esque turmoil


“We’re going to pull every case against the NBA. Then we’ll demonstrate that the culture of racism and gender discrimination is born at the NBA, where Adam Silver has worked in a high-level position for a long time.”

Those were the words of Bobby Samini, attorney for Donald Sterling. A psuedo-threat, Sterling reportedly hired four private investigators to dig into the closets of his fellow owners in hopes of finding skeletons–those racially soaked in discrimination and racism–that’d crush the league from a public relations perspective.

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  • Sterling never brought any findings from the investigation above the surface–if anything was found–and despite him being out of the NBA, his cloud continues to hang over the league as the Atlanta Hawks find themselves in a similar situation–owner Bruce Levenson is willingly selling the team because of racially inept thoughts and words pertaining to the Hawks fanbase and Miami Heat forward Luol Deng, the former found in a scouting report made aware by general Danny Ferry.

    It’s been a hell-fire for the league as many look to figure out what’s really going on behind the scenes and why the Hawks owner ousted himself because of a letter created in 2012. Here are some of the best written pieces on the subject, spanning from different angles.

    Luol Deng’s complete statement on ‘stereotype’ comments from Hawks [Sun Sentinel]

    "“I’m proud to say I actually have a lot of African in me, not just “a little”. For my entire life, my identity has been a source of pride and strength. Among my family and friends, in my country of South Sudan and across the broader continent of Africa, I can think of no greater privilege than to do what I love for a living while also representing my heritage on the highest stage. Unfortunately, the comment about my heritage was not made with the same respect and appreciation."

    Albert Burneko – Yes, Bruce Levenson’s Racist Email Was Racist [Deadspin]

    "This is the logic of systemic racism, distinct from but no better than personal distaste for black people. This is a seemingly reasonable person endorsing the idea that a dollar from a black person is literally worth less than a dollar from a white one, because the dollar from a black person carries an invisible tax: It drives away white people, while a dollar from a white person draws in more of them. In the hands of a business owner—translated into suggested changes to that business’s product, into his complaints to his underlings about, say, the number of black cheerleaders that business employs—it ceases to be an idea. It is the enforcement of disparity, the literal devaluing of black dollars: “Your actual ticket purchase is worth less to us than the hypothetical ticket sales we might get from racists by driving you away.”"

    J.A. Adande – Taking ownership of NBA problem [ESPN]

    "It’s not that Levenson used loaded language or expressed a desire for African-Americans to stay away from the games. It’s the disconnect that’s the problem. The lack of value he placed on black fans and even their money. The refusal to recognize their humanity. That’s no way to do business in the NBA, particularly in Atlanta, where African-Americans are such a prominent part of the business, political and social scene."

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Bruce Levenson Isn’t a Racist; He’s a Businessman [Time Magazine]

    "The only problem is that Atlanta Hawks controlling owner Bruce Levenson is no Donald Sterling. Nor is his email racist. In fact, his worst crime is misguided white guilt.I read Levenson’s email. Here’s what I concluded: Levenson is a businessman asking reasonable questions about how to put customers in seats. In the email, addressed to Hawks president Danny Ferry, Levenson wonders whether (according to his observations) the emphasis on hip-hop and gospel music and the fact that the cheerleaders are black, the bars are filled with 90% blacks, kiss cams focus on black fans and time-out contestants are always black has an effect on keeping away white fans."

    Mark Bradley – Can Danny Ferry keep his job? I don’t see how [AJC]

    "At least one owner wants Ferry gone. That owner is Gearon, who is believed to be the Hawks’ leading individual shareholder (though not a majority shareholder). Levenson, who essentially hired Ferry, is selling his part of the team due to the lengthy email he wrote (to Ferry) that suggested the Hawks’ attendance problems were due to African-American patrons scaring white fans away from Philips Arena. In a post-Sterling NBA, the Hawks have become, at least in the public eye, the thing no organization can afford to be — a team insensitive to racial matters."