Atlanta Hawks' co-owner Bruce Levenson to sell interest in team; admits writing racist email in 2012

Posted at 12:27 PM, Sep 07, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-07 16:52:36-04

Atlanta Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson says he is selling his controlling interest in the team, in part due to an inflammatory email he says he wrote in an attempt "to bridge Atlanta's racial sports divide."

Levenson says he regrets the email sent to the team's co-owners and general manager Danny Ferry two years ago as "inappropriate and offensive." In a statement released by the team on Sunday, Levenson said he sent the email due to his concerns about low attendance and a need to attract suburban whites. He says he later realized the email made it seem white fans were more important.

The 2012 email can be seen in full here.

Levenson says he voluntarily reported the email to the NBA.

Read Levenson’s full statement here.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Sunday the league will work with the Hawks ownership group and CEO Steve Koonin, who now will oversee all team operations.

Hawks CEO Steve Koonin released this statement Sunday:

“Today’s statement from Controlling Owner Bruce Levenson is extremely disappointing and the email that he sent over two years ago was alarming, offensive and most of all, completely unacceptable and does not reflect the principles and values of the Hawks organization. In partnership with the NBA, we will work to ensure that a new ownership team will be put in place that is united and committed to the Atlanta community.”