Monday, September 8, 2014

Levenson's Faux Paux

We as a nation just can't get away from race can we?   And now the announcement comes from Bruce Levenson, one of the owners of the Atlanta Hawks Basketball team that he is selling his interest in the team because he wrote and sent an insensitive email two years ago...

 Bruce Levenson, who has a controlling ownership stake in the Atlanta Hawks, announced he would sell his share after admitting he wrote a racially insensitive e-mail two years ago..

This announcement came as the NBA was in the midst of an investigation that began when Bruce Levenson came forward in July and notified officials about the August 2012 email, which stereotyped fans.
“In trying to address those issues, I wrote an e-mail two years ago that was inappropriate and offensive,” Mr. Levenson said in a statement Sunday, according to the Tribune. “I trivialized our fans by making cliched 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."

I wonder was he being blackmailed....The reason I ask this is because if it was two years ago....Why bring it up now?  Before I weigh in on the following-

From: Bruce Levenson
To: Ferry, Danny
CC: Foreman, Todd (; Peskowitz, Ed (
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 hospitality 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 iconic offering like Boog’s Barbeque at the baseball stadium in Baltimore.
3. Our new restaurant, Red, just opened  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 noticed 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.

I personally highlighted those areas because that's the meat of the letter....My thing is this...If I'm out to make money..Why should I care what color the person is that is spending the money??

Say I own a business and all my customers are white....Should I be alarmed?? Especially if I'm bringing in the money??

Is he trying to say that his white customers and fans are more valuable to him than his black customers??

I'm just repeating myself...He has already addressed these issues... I applaud him for soul searching and reporting this to the NBA...I just hope  he was doing this out of good will and not because someone was threatening to expose him...

I wish that race didn't matter...I wish a lot of things that just may not come true in my lifetime!

1 comment:

SLC said...

Honestly I feel for the guy. He definitely said too much in that email. His email should have focused on efforts to attract a more diverse fan base in order to increase revenue, not 70% black, hip hop, 90% black. I think Ferry's comments were worse and he should be out of the league.



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